The Mystery Behind What Really Happened to Amelia Earhart

Earhart’s bout with Spanish Flu left her with sinus problems for the rest of her life. Library of Congress

2. Earhart required additional surgeries to continue flying

The sinus infections and resulting surgeries Earhart endured as a result of the Spanish Flu left her with recurring sinus problems, including severe headaches, issues with vision, and imbalance. Once back in New England she sought out specialists to correct the problems. The surgery was moderately successful, but she dealt with sinus issues for the rest of her life, often worsened by flying in non-pressurized aircraft. After the surgery she returned to Columbia, which she could no longer afford, and took work as a teacher and social worker in Boston. She continued to pursue her interests in flying. Though she was well known within the aviation community, she was not yet a celebrity.

By the late 1920s Earhart became better known, through her work as a sales representative for Kinner Aircraft and her newspaper and magazine columns extolling flying. In 1927, Charles Lindbergh flew the Atlantic solo, and aviation frenzy struck the United States. Amy Guest, a wealthy socialite, leased a Fokker Trimotor to carry her across the Atlantic, with noted pilot Wilmer Stultz at the controls. Louis Gordon accompanied the flight as a mechanic and navigator. Guest’s family intervened, declared the flight too dangerous for their daughter, and forbade her going. A search for the right woman to make the flight was entrusted to several people, among them publisher George P. Putnam.