Amy Johnson’s de Havilland Aviation Adventures

Amy Johnson and James Allan Mollison 1932Amy Johnson achieved fame through her astonishing record-breaking flights, many completed in de Havilland aircraft. In 1934 de Havilland entered three DH88 Comets in the MacRobertson England to Australia air race. G-ACSP Black Magic was piloted by Amy and Jim Mollison, but pulled out with engine trouble. G-ACSS, Grosvenor House won the race and G-ACSR came in fourth.

In 1930 the British aviator Amy Johnson achieved international fame as the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia in a second-hand de Havilland Gipsy Moth named Jason. The 11,000-mile flight started when Johnson took off on 5 May from Croydon Aerodrome in Surrey and landed in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, nineteen days later on 24 May. Her aeroplane for the flight was G-AAAH, which now forms part of a Johnson collection at London’s Science Museum and can be seen in the museum’s Flight Gallery.

In 1931, flying a de Havilland Puss Moth, Johnson and co-pilot Jack Humphreys became the first to fly to Moscow in a single day, covering the 1,760 miles in around 21 hours. They both then flew on to Tokyo, achieving the record for an England to Japan flight.

In 1932 Amy married the hard-drinking aviator Jim Mollison. Their romance captured the imagination of the public and the press dubbed them The Flying Sweethearts. The year after their marriage Amy, flying in a de Havilland Puss Moth, broke her husband’s record for a solo flight to Cape Town, South Africa. In 1933 Amy and Jim Mollison flew G-ACCV, a de Havilland Dragon Rapide named Seafarer, nonstop from Pendine Sands, South Wales, to Connecticut in the United States of America. The couple reached the American coast in bad weather and following an argument over where to land they crashed the aircraft. Fortunately they managed to escape the wreckage and spent some time recovering in hospital.

For more information on Britain’s many and varied aviation heroes and landmarks take a look at Heroes and Landmarks of British Aviation by Richard and Peter Edwards.

The book is published by Pen and Sword Books (Aviation) and is currently available in hardback. The ISBN reference number is 9781848846456. Click here to order your copy.

For more information on military conflict in the Pacific in the first half of the twentieth century take a look at The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Imperial Naval Sir Service by Peter Edwards.

The book is published by Pen and Sword Books (Aviation) and is currently available in hardback. The ISBN reference number is 9781848843073. Click here to order your copy.