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Amy Johnson was born in Hull Yorkshire, England, on July 1, 1903. After graduating from Sheffield University, she became a secretary to a London solicitor. It was while living in London that she first became interested in flying.
After learning to fly at the London Aeroplane Club during the winter of 1928-1929, Johnson determined to succeed in some project which would demonstrate that women could be as competent in the field of aviation as men. Her first achievement was to qualify as the first woman ground engineer in the world.
In 1930, she decided to not only fly solo to Australia but to beat Bert Hinkler's record of 16 days in the process. After some initial disappointments in raising money for the attempt, Lord Wakefield, along with Amy's father, shared the 600 pound purchase price of a used DH Gypsy Moth, which she named "Jason." Setting off from Croydon, England, on May 5, 1930, Johnson landed in Darwin, Australia, on May 24. Although she failed to beat Hinkler's record, she became the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia. She received the Harmon Trophy for this achievement.
Johnson and her DH Gypsy Moth
Johnson went on to record an impressive list of achievements:
Johnson and Mollison divorced in 1938.
After her commercial flying ended with the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Johnson joined the Air Transport Auxiliary, whose job was to transport Royal Air Force planes from base to base. On January 5, 1941, while flying an Airspeed Oxford to RAF Kidlington near Oxford, she crashed into the Thames estuary and drowned; she was the first member of the Air Transport Auxiliary to die in service.
This page was last updated on 03/21/2017.