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Amelia Earhart is ten years behind her time; in 1927 flights like her round-the-equator trip were almost weekly events. With the same resounding publicity and almost identical headlines a great flock of aircraft within two or three summers attempted the Pacific and the Atlantic. Though few of these gamblers flew solely to further aviation and a majority were killed trying, the effect of the transoceanic stunt flights was to boom aviation's popularity and technical progress. No matter how sporting her plans are, it is a fair question to ask what good Miss Earhart is achieving by her type of action at the present stage of aviation.

Just before leaving Oakland she wrote "while the chief reason for the flight is my personal desire, . . . I want it to be a throroughgoing check of modern equipment". A far better way of checking the equipment is the quiet activity of Pan American Airways and the large domestic airlines, whose engineers fly thousands of miles a day trying out the same apparatus Miss Earhart uses and recording a mass of data under all sorts of conditions she cannot duplicate. No revolutionary invention will be tested on the hopscotch trip; what aviation may gain are the observations one woman in a large plane can jot down when she is not piloting, navigating, or working the radio. Since Miss Earhart started the flight on every front-page in the country, any accident to the equipment will also be described there, and at one swoop the years of study by the airlanes can be discredited.

Even more useless than her stunt is the New York-to-Paris Derby fostered by the French government as a memorial to Lindberg's flight ten years ago this May. So many organizations and individuals have pointed out how little the race would do for publicity and good-will if some of the fliers were killed that the plans have been changed. Though the entrants are no longer expected to start simultaneously and on the same date that Lindbergh flew, no matter what the weather, the Derby is still dangerous and futile. Lindbergh himself would probably prefer the prize money to be spent on developing safety aids. Aviation is young, but already ghosts from its past, flying fossils, seem to be cluttering the skies.

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