On May 5, 1930, Amy Johnson took off from England on one of the boldest journeys in aviation history. Though she had earned her pilot’s license only a year before, Johnson planned to fly alone from England to Australia.
Her route would take her across Europe, over the Middle East, India, the East Indies, and then the open ocean before she reached Australia. Johnson’s plan stunned other pilots.
Much of the route was over jungle or mountain ranges with little hope of rescue if she crashed. Her plane could fly no higher than 10,000 feet, so she would have to maneuver through mountain ranges with peaks much higher. During her journey, she ran into a sandstorm over Syria, blinding her and forcing her to make an emergency landing.
In some places where she stopped, men wouldn’t allow her near the engine, even though she was a skilled mechanic. They had never seen a woman repair her own aircraft. In Burma, she patched a hole in her wing with shirt fabric. Nearing complete exhaustion, Johnson flew the final 500 miles over the sea and landed in Darwin, Australia, on May 24, 1930.
Johnson accomplished other daring and dangerous flights during the 1930s, earning her the nickname “Air Queen.” Tragically, she was killed in an accident in 1941.