Amy Johnson was the first woman to have flown solo from England to Australia in May 1930. In 1936 just over seventy years ago she also achieved a record breaking solo flight from England to South Africa.
She was born on July 1st 1903 in Kingston - upon - Hull England. Her father had a thriving fish business, he was also a Methodist and the family were brought up in the faith. Amy was the eldest of four girls. She was very bright and was able to go to university, which was quite uncommon in those days. She obtained her BA degree in economics and worked as a secretary as she found it hard to get a job worthy of her skills. Then one fine day she came across a notice saying "London Aeroplane Club Private" she ignored the word private and went in with an overwhelming desire to learn to fly. She not only obtained a private pilots license in 1929, she also obtained an engineers license the following year. A few months later she made her first solo flight from England to Australia. In order to do this she had to convince people it was possible for a woman, who hadn't been flying long and on a journey that was not proven, this seemed some undertaking. But she got the backing of the oil company Castrol and her father who gave her the financial support to be able to do it. There was not only her lack of experience; this was also unfamiliar territory for her. There would also be many hazards such as bad weather, mechanical problems and so on and on top of all that she was also trying to beat the record of flying solo to Australia in a light aircraft. Although she failed to achieve that record what she did achieve as the first woman to undertake the journey solo was quite an incredible feat. She didn't stop there either. By the end of the year she had also obtained her commercial pilots license. At the beginning of 1931 she attempted to fly solo from England to China but due to bad weather the attempt failed.