Helen Richey and Amelia Earhart were trailblazers during the ‘Golden Age of Aviation’.
Richey was working for the Air Marking Program set up in Washington D.C. with the goal of marking small airport runways throughout the United States. Her territory extended throughout California. The Northern area of Oakland was where Richey was dispatched to during March 1937. Amelia Earhart was also in Oakland, California awaiting the repairs on the Electra 12 aircraft which had been damaged upon her take off from Hawaii to begin her famous ‘World Flight’ with co-pilot, Fred Noonan.
Richey was familiar with the mechanical capabilities of the Electra 12 because she co-piloted it during the September 1936 Bendix Race across the United States with Earhart. At the time…it was considered the ‘state of the art’ aircraft. Earhart had received it from Purdue University as a birthday gift to use for her famous flight in return for teaching aeronautics. Upon Earhart’s return to the United States she planned to publish a book on the experience as the first female to fly around the world.
During Helen Richey’s career she worked on all types of aircraft from building/re-building engines to teaching future pilots at M.I.T.to earn their license for the military prior to World War II. Could Helen Richey’s aeronautical knowledge along with conversations between Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan about the damaged re-building of the Electra 12 in Oakland, California seal her fate….years later?