The Lockheed 10-E was designed as a 10-passenger airliner and was also popular as a high-performance private aircraft. In 1936 Amelia Earhart purchased a new Lockheed 10-E Electra with funds from the Purdue Research Foundation. The airplane was officially called the "Flying Laboratory" because it was meant to be used as a test bed for new equipment. But Earhart's real intent was to fly it around the world.On May 21, 1937, Earhart and well-known navigator Fred Noonan began a round-the-world flight, beginning in Oakland, California, and traveling east in the twin-engine Electra. They departed Miami on June 1 and reached Lae, New Guinea, on June 29, having flown 21 of 30 days and covered 22,000 miles. They left Lae on July 2 for their next refueling stop, a speck of land in the Pacific Ocean called Howland Island. They never found it.Following a massive sea and air search that covered an area roughly the size of Texas, Earhart and Noonan were declared lost at sea on July 18, 1937. Earhart's Electra has never been found.