Pat Shingleton: "Amelia Earhart and Lightning Hits"
On May 19, 1932, Amelia Earhart began a solo transatlantic flight from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland. The take-off occurred five years to the day when Charles Lindbergh flew from Long Island to Le Bourget Field in Paris. Her red Lockheed Vega logged a smooth flight until midnight. She then hit a severe thunderstorm and decreased her altitude after experiencing ice conditions. Three hours into the flight her altimeter and gasoline gauges broke. With fuel running down the back of her neck, flames were shooting out of the manifold. Skimming the ocean surface to reduce icing and after 15 hours and 2,026 miles, she landed outside Londonderry, Ireland, becoming the first woman to fly solo across the “pond” and the first person to cross the Atlantic twice by airplane. On this date in 1946 in Kenton, Ohio, Charles Brown, while checking out a book at the public library, was struck by lightning. This was the tenth time that he was hit. “The Almanac of the Infamous, The Incredible and The Ignored” reports that there have been numerous documented human multiple lightning strikes. A forest ranger from Waynesboro, Virginia was bopped seven times in a thirty six year stretch. Cleveland Sullivan lost a toenail while on duty in a fire lookout tower in 1942. In 1969 a bolt scorched his eyebrows and in 1972 and 1973, lightning lit up his hair. Carl Mize, known also as Sparky, was hit four times, once on the rodeo circuit and another strike put a hole in his shoe.