Amy Johnson – England (1903 – 1941)

Amy Johnson CBE, (1 July 1903 – 5 January 1941) was a pioneering English aviatrix. Flying solo or with her husband, Jim Mollison, Johnson set numerous long-distance records during the 1930s. Johnson flew in the Second World War as a part of the Air Transport Auxiliary where she died during a ferry flight … (full text).

Amy Johnson was the first female pilot to fly alone from Britain to Australia, which she achieved at the age of 26. Her flying career began in 1928 and other triumphs included becoming the first female ground engineer licensed by the Air Ministry, and being awarded the C.B.E. for her flying achievements. All her accomplishments were well recognised at the time. Not only was she formally acknowledged by dignitaries, but also received much public interest, becoming a celebrity of the day … (full text).

… The family had a kipper business. She flew aircraft to the R.A.F. sites during the war, but on January 5th 1941, got lost in fog, and crashed into the River Thames. Her pigskin bag was found in the Thames and is now in the Sewerby Hall Museum. Her plane was never found … (full text).

… Amy Johnson’s daredevil flying exploits made her an icon of her age. But her glamorous life and career tragically ended in a mysterious plane crash in 1941. Sixty years on, Inside Out lays bare the elaborate rumours surrounding her death. Here we examine the most likely scenario of what really happened to a homegrown heroine … (full text).

Galleries:Her memory postcard; See also the Amy Johnson Gallery; Escort for Amy Johnson’s landing in Sydney, June 4th, 1930; Amy Johnson Centenary; Wonderful Amy! on RAF museum; The Most Famous Man in the World: After lunch Charles Chaplin joins pilot Amy Johnson, Lady Astor and George Bernard Shaw for a portrait in Lady Astor’s garden, 1931; the Denham Aerodroome; on flickr.


Amy Johnson – England (1903 – 1941)

Watch the video with Golden Age Pioneer Amy Johnson, 10.10 min, April 20, 2008.

… Within the first three days of the journey, she’d already had to deal with a leaking petrol tank – and Turkish officials in Constantinople who refused her permission to fly over their air space. But, she persuaded the authorities to let her go on. Amy Johnson herself starts the story, in an archive reconstruction of her flight … (full text, 20 May 2005 – click also on ‘listen to this item’).

Divers confident they have found Amy Johnson’s lost aeroplane. By Steven Morris in London, October 21, 2003.

… Many theories have grown up surrounding her mysterious death. Why did an experienced pilot get lost on a flight that should have lasted only 90 minutes? One suggestion was that she was shot down by anti aircraft guns after being mistaken for a German bomber. Another theory says she was on a secret mission. The truth of what happened will probably never be known … (full text).

Museums exhibiting on Amy Johnson: Sewerby Hall & GardensRoyal Air Force RAF Museum.

Aviation enthusiasts have embarked on a mammoth project to re-build the plane in which Amy Johnson competed in a race to Australia. Members of the Derby Aero Club hope to finish restoring the de Havilland 88 Comet Racer in time for the 70th anniversary of the race in 2004. The only part left of the plane, known as Black Magic, is the fuselage. Restorer and former Rolls Royce engineer, Martin Jones, said: “Amy Johnson was as popular as Princess Diana in her day … (full text, 25 January, 2002).

Find her and her publications on amazon; on commons wikimedia; on wikipedia /bibliography; on Google Video-search; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.

Johnson was introduced to flying as a hobby in 1929 when she joined the London Aeroplane Club in London, England, and got her licence soon after. After some training Johnson became the first qualified British-trained woman ground engineer, and gained further fame in 1930 when she became the first woman to fly from Britain to Australia. On May 5, 1930, she left Croydon, England, in her De Havilland Gypsy Moth airplane named ‘Jason’ and landed in Darwin, Australia, on May 24, 1930, having flown 11,000 miles. In July 1931 Johnson flew a De Havilland Puss Moth airplane from England to Japan with a co-pilot and set a record for flying. A year later in July 1932 Johnson again set a record for a solo flight from England to Cape Town, South Africa, in a De Havilland Puss Moth airplane, and another record in time flying in a Percival Gull in May of 1936 … (full text).

‘Jason I’, de Havilland Gypsy Moth, 1928: In 1930, English aviator Amy Johnson (1903-1941) piloted Jason I … (full text).

… Jason, Jim and Me reveals a more complex figure: a celebrity who sought anonymity; a record-breaker who longed for a steady piloting job. These unglamorous ambitions remained unfulfilled until Amy was in her mid-30s, a year before her death … // … Unexpected celebrity: So many people surrounded the airstrip as Amy came in to land that she thought she’d arrived during an airshow. Bewildered by the crowd’s adulation, she said: ‘I’m afraid I didn’t break the record, but you don’t seem to mind that – it’s jolly sporting of you … // … Unexpected celebrity: So many people surrounded the airstrip as Amy came in to land that she thought she’d arrived during an airshow. Bewildered by the crowd’s adulation, she said: ‘I’m afraid I didn’t break the record, but you don’t seem to mind that – it’s jolly sporting of you’ …  // … Beyond the limit: But the pilot who had spent years pushing herself to the limit had difficulty playing it safe. At 10.45am on 5 January 1941, ferrying an aeroplane from Prestwick to Oxford, Amy took off into stormy weather, saying she would handle it by going ‘over the top’ (above cloud cover) – something which ATA pilots, who flew without radio, were advised against. She was never seen alive again. Amy’s aeroplane was spotted over the Thames estuary at 3.15 that afternoon. Amy ejected, either because the aeroplane had been fired on by anti-aircraft guns or simply because, after four hours in the air, it was out of fuel. A nearby ship, HMS Haslemere, attempted to rescue her, tragically, she was dragged under the ship and killed. Amy was the first ATA pilot to die in service. She was 37 … (full long text).

Amy Johnson crossed nearly 1000 miles on 22 May 1930 during one leg of her history-making, solo flight from England to Australia. Though the day’s flight had been uneventful, she began to get edgy when the sun went down while she was flying over a large expanse of water between the islands of Flores and Timor in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). Her fuel was almost gone, when Amy finally sighted Timor and began to look for the island’s aerodrome at Atamboea. ‘I just couldn’t see it,’ she later wrote. Despairing, she flew lower and lower until she spied a bumpy, grassy clearing. Upon landing, she realized the bumps were a range of anthills, and nearby stood a small village of mud and straw huts. As soon as she came to a halt, ‘a horde of yelling natives, with hair flying in the wind, and knives in their hands or between their red-stained teeth’ rushed from the village and surrounded the plane and Amy. She reached for her revolver, but after a brief council among the village leaders, the headman approached and made her understand that they would take her to a ‘pastor.’ Figuring this to mean a resident missionary and too weary to protest, she allowed them to lead her into the forest … (full long six page text).

… In 1922 Amy went to Sheffield University and studied for a B.A. degree. She then had a number of jobs in the Hull area before moving to London early in 1927 where she took a job in the legal profession. The following year she joined the London Flying Club at Stag Lane Aerodrome. Her first solo flight was made after less than 16 hours tuition; she gained her pilots ‘A’ licence in July 1929. In December 1929, she obtained her ground engineers licence, one of the first women to do so in Britain. In 1930 Amy announced her intention to undertake a flight to Australia. Lord Wakefield (of the oil company of that time) agreed to share the cost of an aeroplane with the Johnson family, and to arrange fuel supplies along the route to Australia. The aircraft, a two year old Gypsy Moth already fitted with long range tanks, was purchased for the sum of £600 a mere two weeks before the flight. Amy set off at 7.45am on the 5th of May 1930, touching down at Darwin on 24th May having covered approximately 10,000 miles. This was followed by a six-week tour of Australia before returning home, first by sea to Port Said, then to Croydon by Imperial Airways … (full text).


Flying records;

Jean Gardner Batten, CBE, (1909 -1982);


Exhibit of the American Society of Aviation Artists Awards;

On Wednesday, November 28 (2007), Frau Elly Beinhorn passed away. She was born in Hanover, Germany on May 30, 1907, then died at 100 y.o. … She became the second woman to fly solo from Europe to Australia, after Amy Johnson … (full text, 12-11-2007);

Royal Air Force RAF celebrating 90 years;

The RAF museum;

Kalgoorlie: Amy Johnson, the famous aviator bravely flew to Kalgoorlie in July 1930;

wikipedia categories: Aviation pioneers; Aviation history; .

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