Amy Johnson

    Amy Johnson was working in London as a shorthand typist when she first became interested in flying. She saved enough money to join the London Aeroplane Club at Stag Lane Aerodrome, where she learned to fly, navigate, and repair engines. Although an unusual choice for a woman at that time, she made her first solo flight after a little under 16 hours’ tuition and achieved her pilot’s ‘A’ licence in July 1929.

    Johnson was the first woman in this country to be granted an Air Ministry’s ground-engineer’s licence in December 1929. She then received the full navigation certificate in 1930. From this point, she was determined to make a career in aviation.

    After 50 hours of solo flying, she gained her ‘B’ licence and was given some maintenance work to complete on a privately owned Moth. There were only about 60 aircraft in private ownership in the country, and more than half of them were De Havilland Moths.

    In July 1929 Amy Johnson was hoping to obtain a job as demonstrator of a revolutionary aircraft designed by a young man called James Martin. He was later to become Sir James Martin of the Martin Baker Aircraft Company and the inventor of the ejector seat. However, by 1930, James Martin’s aircraft was nowhere near ready, so she turned to a sponsor to raise the capital for her flight to Australia.