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Long, Elgen M. 1927

LONG, Elgen M. 1927

PERSONAL: Born 1927, in McMinneville, OR; son of Harry E. and Berniece Elsie (Tooney) Long; married Marie Kurlich (a consultant), May 12, 1946; children: Donna Marie Weiner, Harry Elgen. Education: University of California, Los Angeles, 1946-47; College of San Mateo, A.E. 1961. Politics: Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: Flying (holds world record for flying solo around the world over both poles), Amelia Earhart enthusiast and expert.

ADDRESSES: Home—18124 Wedge Parkway, Reno, NV 89511-8134.

CAREER: Author and pilot. Flying Tiger Line, Inc., Los Angeles, CA, radio operator, 1947-48, navigator, 1949-50; pilot, 1951-87; Federal Aviation Administration, air safety council, 1972. Director, Auto-Navigation, Inc.; partner, Woodside Investment Co. and Whalebone Music. Military service: U.S. Naval Reserve, 1942-46.

MEMBER: National Aeronautic Association, American Polar Society, Royal Canadian Airforce Association, Airline Pilots Association; Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Coronado Cays Yacht Club, Explorer's Club.

AWARDS, HONORS: Named First Citizen of San Mateo County, 1971; World Gold Air medal, Federation Aeronautique, 1971; Franklin Harris trophy, 1972; commendation from California State Assembly, 1971; received Key to the City of San Francisco, 1971; special award and trophy, Airline Pilots Association, 1973, Wright Bros. Memorial award, greater Los Angeles, 1972; FAI Gold Air Medal.

WRITINGS:

(With Marie K. Long) Amelia Earhart: The Mystery Solved, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1999.

SIDELIGHTS: Former pilot Elgen M. Long and his wife, Marie K. Long, coauthored Amelia Earhart: The Mystery Solved. "They worked on this book for more than twenty-five years, traveling more than 100 thousand miles, and interviewing more than 100 sources," according to Andrea Higbie for the New York Times Book Review. The Longs write that Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, went down in the Electra 100 miles from Howland Island as they attempted to fly around the world in 1937. They cite the causes for her disappearance as strong winds, insufficient fuel, an inoperable direction finder, and the fact that neither Earhart nor Noonan knew Morse Code. Higbie wrote, "the authors' intent is to recreate Earhart's life, career and death without taking 'poetic license,' a noble enterprise to be sure but one that turns dull rather quickly."

Carolyn See noted in her Washington Post Book World review that "there's absolutely nothing lurid, fancy or speculative here—no dastardly cannibals or suspicious Japanese lurking furtively about, no conspiracies, no hidden plots. This is a step-by-step reconstruction of Earhart's last flight.... Elgen and Marie Long are concerned with facts and nothing but the facts; their anti-glamour approach is so effective that by page 70 the reader has to fling the book down for awhile. Unless you're an utter old-time flying aficionado, the difference between 87 octane gas as opposed to 100, or the numerous frequencies used on early airplane radios . . . becomes too much to take."

In their work, the Longs provide an account of Earhart's life and career, including her marriage to publisher G. P. Putnam and document her first, aborted attempt at global flight. A Publishers Weekly reviewer said the information presented by the Longs "is convincing but less than startling," and concluded that they "present a complete picture of Earhart's fate and offer a tribute to her bravery and risk taking."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

New York Times Book Review, January 2, 2000, Andrea Higbie, review of Amelia Earhart.

People Weekly, November 15, 1999, review of Amelia Earhart, p. 49.

Publishers Weekly, October 4, 1999, review of Amelia Earhart, p. 53.

Washington Post Book World, December 17, 1999, Carolyn See, "Earhart, Lost in the Details," p. C2.

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