In September 2019 I published two blog posts about Amelia Earhart, the American aviator, who flew over present-day Malaysia from Bangkok to Singapore on 20 June 1937. A mural had been created in Taiping, honoring her landing on 20 June at the Taiping Aerodrome for a refueling stop.
In my two reports, Amelia Earhart and Taiping and Amelia and Taiping (Part Two) I showed that Amelia Earhart never landed at the Taiping Aerodrome and not even had the intention to do so. I shared these reports with the Taiping Heritage Society (THS). Lukewarm response, no follow-up. A few months ago the Perak Heritage Society came into action: “She Never landed in Malaysia” Amelia Earhart Mural In Taiping Puzzles Locals It will be interesting to see if now something will happen.
Here is a bit more information about how the confusion started./
In 2007 a Wikipedia contributor, Andrew Kidman, starts a topic Taiping Airport. He adds content in the following years, for example on 1 February 2009 :
” … The airport also achieved fame through the famous American aviator, Amelia Mary Earhart in 1937, when she was doing her world flight and stopover at the Taiping Airport for refueling petrol. Amelia Earhart was doing her flight route from Thailand to Singapore, her permission to land at Taiping Airport was allowed on 7 June 1937 by the then Resident-General of Malaya….”
The second sentence is correct, the first one is his own conclusion and erroneous. His last edit of Taping Airport was in April 2009, he is not active anymore, I have tried to contact him, without success.
Yes, Amelia Earhart received a letter on 7 June that she was permitted to land at the Taiping Areodrome. Does that make Taiping at least a bit special? To make clear that this was mot the case, we must keep in mind that in 1937 Malaysia did not exist, it was British Malaya, consisting of the Straits Settlements , the Federated Malay States and the Unfederated Malay States, Crossing the airspace of British Malaya, Amelia needed several authorizations. In my second blog copies of these letters are shown. Each gives authorization for a specific period (‘in or about June’) and mentions the airports where she is permitted to land. Here is the list, with date of the authorization letter and the airports. Kedah and Johore were unfederated states and had to give authorization separately.
- 15 June Straits Settlements (Penang, Singapore)
- .7 June FMS (Taiping)
- 17 June Kedah (Alor Star)
- 17 June Johore (Batu Pahat)
Taiping was just one of the five airports where she was allowed to land. But she did not , as is clear from the book Last Flight. In her report she mentions a few times Alor Star (We checked over Alor Star airport but did not stop, and headed for Singapore)