Amu Johnson


Amy's epic flight, May 1930: The first woman to fly solo from England to Australia

Amy set out from Croydon on Monday the 5th May 1930 and arrived in Darwin Australia on Saturday 24th May after a journey that had taken 19 and a half days.

She had endured all that the weather could throw at her, monsoon rains, tremendous heat, and desert sandstorms.

She had to contend with dangerous mountain terrain, vast expanses of desert and finally the crossing of the shark infested Timor Sea. She suffered terrible feelings of nausea caused by escaping fumes from the fuel on board. Her skin was blistered and burnt and she was often exhausted from a lack of sleep.

Amy received a rapturous welcome on landing, among hundreds of telegrams she received was one from King George the Sixth Queen Elizabeth, and ones from her own family. She received fan mail from around the world and songs were written in her honour.

The life of the legendary Amy Johnson

When the wheels of the travel-stained Gipsy Moth, Jason, bumped down on the tussocky paddock of what passed for an airfield at the Fannie Bay racecourse, near Darwin, on May 24th 1930, a legend was born. That a woman could enter into what was hitherto a male-dominated profession and complete a solo flight in an open-cockpit biplane over a distance of 11,000 miles in nineteen days, amazed the world. The fact that she was not a natural-born pilot and quite an inexperienced one at that, only added to the admiration that people felt for the bravery that she had shown in traversing deserts, jungles and shark-infested seas without the help of radio or navigational aids, items that would be deemed essential today. This unknown slip of a girl was to become an international star and icon, She was idolised to the extent that songs were written about her; infant girls were named after her, schools, roads, and airports and even a rose. More importantly, the public took her to their hearts.

The adulation continued as she went on to complete five further major flights during the 1930's. Her record-breaking flights to India, Japan and across the Sahara alone to the Cape on two occasions, captured the world’s attention. When she married the flamboyant aviator Jim Mollison in 1932, they became a unique flying couple in the annals of aviation history. Their frenzied ticker-tape welcome along Broadway in 1933 after they made the first direct flight from the UK to the USA, confirmed their status as international stars.

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