Grace McGuire, now 59, is still pursuing her decades-long dream to finish Amelia Earhart’s final flight flying the same model aircraft with the same instrumentation and parts. The journey has already taken McGuire from her home in New Jersey to the Central Coast of California, where she says it was almost derailed by TSA regulations. Having acquired an original Lockheed L-10E in 1984, McGuire eventually had the aircraft shipped in sections to Santa Maria Airport where it was to be rebuilt, made airworthy, and readied. The plan was to fly it to Miami, then down the East Coast of South America to Dakar, making every effort to fly a route nearly identical to Earhart’s … “except the outcome — I’m coming back,” McGuire told a local CBS news affiliate. Unfortunately, the TSA requirement that each airport tenant provide an airport issued-I.D. card put the project that’s already faced considerable financial and logistical hurdles “in shambles,” according to McGuire. At Santa Maria, airport tenants are required to provide a filled-out application and proof of identification. In McGuire’s case, where numerous specialty mechanics were needed to reconstruct the aircraft, the task was proving difficult. But now, the San Diego Air and Space Museum has stepped in.
The San Diego museum has offered to rebuild McGuire’s Lockheed, putting her back on target for making her international flight. “It’s going to take a little while to get organized again and to put my aircraft back together again,” she told CBS news, but “I am going to make the flight.” McGuire is convinced that Earhart died in part due to faulty coordinates. She told The New York Times in 2005 that she was excited to “get back up there using my coordinates.” She added, “We can quiet a lot of people who have been making a mess of history.” Ann Pelegreno successfully re-created Earhart’s flight in 1967 flying a Lockheed Electra 10A, dropping a wreath at Howland Island on July 2, 1967, thirty years after Earhart was lost with her navigator, Fred Noonan.