Amelia Earhart visited El Paso on Sept. 11, 1928. Here is the report from the El Paso Times:
Miss Amelia Earhart, the only woman air passenger to make the Atlantic hop, flying solo, drove her little Avero Avian into the Municipal airport yesterday afternoon at 4 p.m. She plans to take off in the direction of Los Angeles at 5 o’clock this morning.
Ever since last Thursday she has been trying to fly into El Paso from Pecos. She finally accomplished it. All of which explains her undaunted determination to do the thing she plans.
Small and slender, with sparkling blue eyes, she looked like a little girl as she sat in the plane after landing on the Municipal field. She has a flashing smile that lights up her face and makes for her immediate friends. It is much the same smile as Col. Charles Lindbergh.
“I really started out as a hobo flyer on this Los Angeles trip,” Miss Earhart said, “but I have started and I intend to get there, if I arrive on the last day. I will help them pull down the tents if I do not reach there soon enough for the air show.”
“I had a wonderful trip,” she said “Perfectly wonderful. If there is no wind, my cruising speed is around 70 miles. If there is a breeze my ship gets down to about 40.”
Just before Miss Earhart hove into sight, a huge Army bomber was high up battling with the strong wind, battling and drifting somewhat.
The few on the Municipal field thought the first bomber was Miss Earhart’s plane, but her little plane could have been put into the big Army ship — almost. Shortly after the bomber landed at the Fort Bliss landing filed, Miss Earhart landed on the Municipal ground. She made a perfect landing.
“I flew high up coming in,” Miss Earhart stated. “My ship being light, I could feel the bumps. So, I tried to fly where it was smoothest, some 7,000 or 8,000 feet high.”
She was enthusiastic about the El Paso sunshine. The evidence of her real affection for it was a burned spot on the end of her little nose. She has a straw sombrero in the ship and was told to wear it on her trip over the Southwestern country, but she didn’t.
“I love this sunshine,” she said, “I have been living in New York where one’s clothes never get dry.
She was asked to pose for a picture, which she readily and graciously did.
“I think you ought to let me powder my nose first,” she said, smiling one of her rare smiles.
The plane Miss Earhart is flying she purchased from Lady Heath when she was in London, shortly after her Atlantic flight. A number of Lady Heath’s medals are attached to the side. There is room for the pilot and one passenger. Miss Earhart on this journey is the pilot and only passenger. After buying the plane abroad, Miss Earhart had it shipped to this side. A new motor was installed.
When Miss Earhart started to get out of the plane, she made for the left side. There is no door on that side.
“I continually forget,” Miss Earhart said, “that the doors on these British ships are on the wrong side.”
She was asked if she might fly back through El Paso on her return trip to the east.
“I never make any flying dates,” she replied.
Miss Earhart made two starts out of Pecos yesterday morning before she reached here. She got away the first time at 8:40 a.m. and was out only a short distance when the engine of her plane got hot. She flew back to Pecos, waited there and after having lunch, took to the air again, about 1:10 p.m. (El Paso time).
Miss Earhart was expected in El Paso last Thursday and she did her best to get here. The day before she had flown out of Pecos and was forced down at Hobbs, N.M. by a heated engine. She spent three hours there as the guest of the Rotary Club and then hopped off, returning to Pecos.
Thursday morning she was in the air again for the El Paso air journey, but at Toyah she was forced to land again. Ralph Sparks, Pecos member of the El Paso Aero club, drove out in a car and took her back to Pecos. During Miss Earhart’s stay there she was the guest of Mr. and Mrs. Sparks. Sunday they took her to visit the Carlsbad Caverns.
Robert Dake, Pittsburgh, who was second in New York-Los Angeles class A races, saw Miss Earhart at Pecos. She served as one of the official judges of the race at that point.
“Any pilot in the race would have brought her on,” Dake said. “She is certainly a wonderful little woman — not one you would imagine would do anything like hopping over the Atlantic. On the other hand, when she talks to you and smiles, you are convinced that she is the very one who would accomplish such a thing.”
H.W. Waller, manager of the Hotel Hussmann, was on the ground to meet Miss Earhart, as were Don Thompson, president of the El Paso Aero club, and Arthur M. Lockhart, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce aviation committee.
Before leaving the field with Mr. Waller, Miss Earhart gave instructions for her motor to be thoroughly checked.
“I want to leave here at 5 o’clock in the morning,” she said. “That is, I am going to leave at that hour if my ship is working all right and the sun is shining.” She smiled again that rare smile and added, “I know the sun will be shining here.”
Back in her home town, Boston, Miss Earhart is a social worker and one instinctively knows, particularly when she smiles, she must also be tremendously successful in this work.
Trish Long is the El Paso Times’ archivist and spends her time in the morgue, where the newspaper keeps its old clippings and photos.