She Was Amelia Earhart’s Flight Instructor, And The First Woman To Have An Aviation Business

Neta realized that she couldn’t fly her plane year-round in the midwest because of the winters, so she decided to disassemble her plane and ship it to Los Angeles, California. 

When she arrived in Los Angeles in 1920, Neta approached aircraft engine designer Bert Kinner to ask if she could work at his new airport, Kinner Fields, as a flight instructor and for full commercial airfield use. There, she became the first woman to run a commercial airfield and the first woman to run her own aviation business.

In January 1921, Amelia Earhart and her father arrived at Kinner Fields. Amelia approached Neta and asked if she’d teach her how to fly. Amelia quickly became Neta’s student, and they also formed a great friendship. They worked closely together for over a year. 

After Amelia disappeared in 1937, Neta began telling stories about Amelia’s life and their friendship, eventually publishing an autobiography titled I Taught Amelia To Fly.

She retired from flying after she got married in 1922 but flew publicly to pilot a replica of the Spirit of St. Louis in 1977. Neta passed away at age 95 in March 1991. She was inducted into the Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame one year later. 

Neta’s story is a great reminder of how much we need to appreciate the remarkable teachers in our lives. 

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