On 21st May 1932 Amelia Earhart made made the second solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean and became the first woman to accomplish the feat.
When the scarlet Lockheed Vega touched down, scattering a herd of cows, farmhand Dan McCallion crossed himself. He puzzled at the grease-smeared face and tousled hair of the pilot who emerged from the cockpit, unsure whether a man or woman had landed in his boss’ Londonderry meadow. “Have you flown far?” he finally asked. “From America,” answered Amelia Earhart.
Earhart had spent the last 15 hours tossed by dangerous storms over the North Atlantic, contending with failing machinery and sipping a can of tomato juice to calm her queasy stomach. That day—May 21, 1932—she planned to end her journey at Paris’ Le Bourget airfield, where exactly five years earlier Charles Lindbergh had completed the first solo transatlantic flight. When her Vega’s reserve fuel tank sprang a leak and flames began engulfing the exhaust manifold, however, Earhart wound up navigating to a Northern Ireland pasture.
“I was never in Ireland before,” Earhart later told reporters, “but the sight of the thatched cottages and the marvelous green grass and trees left me no doubt that I had actually made the Emerald Isle. I was still surer when I heard the brogue of my friend Dan McCallion.”