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Pilot seeking to retrace the route of Earhart’s ill-fated flight

SHARE Pilot seeking to retrace the route of Earhart’s ill-fated flight

A pilot using a plane almost identical to the one in which Amelia Earhart disappeared on a round-the-world flight 60 years ago is trying to retrace the aviation pioneer's route.

Linda Finch, 46, of San Antonio, was to take off from Oakland Monday afternoon, heading east. Her plane is slated to touch down in 20 countries before she returns to Oakland in May.Earhart also took off on St. Patrick's Day but went west and crashed in Hawaii. The plane was shipped back, repaired and the flight was retried on May 21, that time going east in Earhart's failed quest to be the first person to pilot an aircraft around the equator.

Pratt & Whitney, which made the Wasp engines in Earhart's plane, is spending $4 million to help sponsor Finch's flight and an educational program titled "You Can Soar." It aims to teach middle school students around the world about geography, science, the weather and aviation.

Finch will have some technical advantages over Earhart, who vanished with navigator Fred Noonan 22,000 miles into the flight near Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean.

A global-positioning satellite receiver will tell Finch exactly where she is. She and her series of navigators will have VHF radio communications to help with landings and takeoffs and will wear hearing protection.

Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, the first woman to fly nonstop across the United States and the first woman to fly from Hawaii to the West Coast.