One day I’ll fly away (Leave your love to yesterday)

“I awfully want to see this picture called ‘Wings’ but it is very difficult to get seats and they are so expensive.”[1]

Dear Amy,

Your new-found interest in flying could not have come at a better time for you, a great distraction from the turmoil of your love life.

“Last Thursday I went to see ‘Wings’. It is just wonderful and most marvelously produced. I had to pay 5/9 for not a very good seat. I could see it again.

For the aeroplane scenes the screen was enlarged to the entire width of the stage and the lighting and cloud effects are splendid.”[2]

Not just a distraction that you are going to watch on a big screen. For whatever reason – a new defiance against men, a new hobby that you feel will impress your former lover, or simply something that just seemed to take your fancy – you don’t stop at just being an observer…

“Now for the good news – I’m going to learn flying! I’m joining the London Aeroplane Club and then I can get tuition and always use their aeroplanes. It is, of course, awfully expensive, but not prohibitive, as the flying school was that I wrote to before. No one would believe I was really serious.”[3]

“I decided to go for a ride on the top of a bus to Hendon and see if I could see some aeroplanes. There were lots of aeros up and I was wishing so much I could afford to learn. There was no one to stop me going in, so I went through the gate, down the path, past the sheds where aeroplanes were in various stages of construction, and finally came to the open space where the machines were taking off.

Finally, I plucked up the courage to speak to one of the pilots – he of course took me for a member of the club ‘cos otherwise I’d no right to be there – but he was awfully nice and told me to my intense surprise, that I could join the club at an entrance fee of £3.30 – sub of £3.30 and then learn to fly at the rate of 30/- per hour. After about 8 hours tuition, one can enter for a pilot’s certificate (having previously passed tests for nerves) and then one can always use the club’s machines at the rate of £1 per hour.”[4]

You wont know I suppose, until you get up there in the sky for your first lesson, how you are going to feel when you fly. Something tells me it will be the most exhilarating, powerful, thrilling experience you have ever had.

“I wrote and told them at home but no one has mentioned it. I shan’t mention it again now they know.”[5]

Oh I wouldn’t worry too much about their disinterest. They’ll mention it to you again soon.

Amy Johnson letters used with kind permission of Hull Local Studies Library, Hull History Centre

Links:

Amy Johnson initiative by EasyJet: https://careers.easyjet.com/pilots/female-pilot-opportunities/

http://bwpa.co.uk/in-partnership-with-bwpa-easyjet-launches-the-amy-johnson-flying-initiative-to-help-boost-female-pilot-recruits/

University of Sheffield Amy Johnson scholarships: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/acse/undergraduates/financial-support/amy-johnson

[1] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 22 April 1928

[2] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 28 April 1928

[3] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 29 April 1928

[4] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 29 April 1928

[5] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 9 May 1928

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