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.
In 1930, the world took notice of a different type of flyer. Amy Johnson was a newcomer to the world of long distance flying, but in May of that year she took the aviation world by surprise when she flew her single engine Gipsy Moth biplane, named Jason; from London to Darwin. Although her nineteen days, eleven countries journey did not break any aviation records, it represented a breakthrough for women all around the globe. Many aviation enthusiasts, as well as much of the public in Europe and America, were amazed at the incredible feat accomplished by this unpretentious young woman from Yorkshire, Great Britain. They were even more impressed at the fact that before her ground breaking feat, Johnson had only eighty five hours of actual flying experience! Amy Johnson was born on July 1st, 1903, just months before the Wright Brothers introduced the world to aviation, in Hull. Her father was a fisherman and raised young Amy to be a strong and independent woman. A preaching she took to the heart. Since her early teens, young Amy was keen to find her place in the world, even if it means entering into fields usually associated with man. In the 1920s she attended Sheffield University for a brief period before discovering that academic life was not suited for her and her ambitions. After dropping college, Johnson went on to work with her father; from there she took a clerical position with an up and coming advertising agency in downtown London. Although those jobs offered her the ability to pay the bills, Amy wanted more out of life. She wanted to live an adventure, to live on the edge. She found that edge in flying.
She joined the prestigious London Aeroplane Club in the summer of 1928 and quickly fell in love with aviation. As she had done during all her life, Amy applied herself to this new task. She earned her pilot's license and a second one in ground engineering. With those two licenses under her belt, Johnson went in to the aviation community with a new sense of purpose, a new attitude. She was a shrewd self promoter in a male-dominated environment. She tried to attract patrons and donors in order to finance her dream of making a difference in the world. She always came up with interesting ideas on how to promote her efforts. Once she told a local newspaper reporter that she was aiming to beak Bert Hinkler's record of flying from England to Australia. He did it in fifteen and a half days during the spring of 1928. Flying from the U.K. to Australia in those early pioneers days must had offered any man, let alone a woman, one of the most demanding challenges in human endeavor. The first men to try such an endeavor were two Australian Lieutenants, Ray Parer and John McIntosh. After the Great War ended, Parer and McIntosh commenced preparations to fly to Australia from their base in England. In 1920 they embarked on their challenge. Utilizing a World War I vintage DH.9 biplane they began their trek. Unfortunately for them, flying from the south of the U.K. to Darwin, was a more demanding journey that the two young Australian Lieutenants hoped. Their DH.9 suffered innumerable mechanical problems. It took them forty days just to reach Cairo, Egypt. They crashed near Baghdad and had the misfortune to spend six weeks in the jungle, before finally arriving at Darwin with a chopped aircraft and a pint of fuel. During her research into the planned trip, Johnson took more care in detail planning that did the two Australians ten years before. The first step for Amy was to secure the necessary financial backing for the proposed enterprise. Financial support was necessary for her endeavor to succeed. Her father offered a base credit li