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Arctic Aerial Exploration
Antarctic Exploration
Australian record flights
equal flying rights for women!
Calbraith Rogers
Cobham and Hinkler
Byrd and Bennett
Wiley Post
Amelia Earhart
Howard Hughes
Kingsford Smith
Amy Johnson
Beryl Markham
Italo Balbo
Jimmy Doolittle

Beryl Markham

Beryl Markham was born Beryl Clutterbuck, an aristocratic (though the family was not wealthy) British name, in 1903 and was raised in British East AfricaŚnow Kenya. She was smitten by flying when she was in her late twenties, soon logged a thousand hours and worked as a bush pilot out of Nairobi. Twice married and twice divorced, Markham was a woman with social graces and noble bearing, though she was a sportswoman and anything but snobbish. Having flown, by her own calculation, hundreds of thousands of miles over the African jungle, she decided to fly a new Percival Vega Gull, which she named the Messenger, from England to New York.


Beryl Markham, the British socialite who made the first east-to-west non-stop solo trans-Atlantic flight in 1936.

The flight west-ward over the North Atlantic was more difficult than a flight in the opposite direction because of the prevailing easterly winds of the jetstream. Markham made it to Nova Scotia, and when the engine cut out she landed the plane nose down in a bog. It was not the most elegant crossing of the Atlantic, but it made her famous nonetheless.

Markham also showed a real talent for writing about flight and her works are still considered some of the most inspiring aviation literature ever written. Though they had very different personalities, Johnson and Markham shared one very important qualityŚthey competed and flew on equal terms with men, Johnson having the technical expertise and Markham the flight experience. Even Earhart, as accomplished as she was, could not match either of these aviators for sheer flying ability or know-how. It is inconceivable, for example, that either Johnson or Markham would have agreed to be only a passenger on the Friendship, as Earhart had. The next generation of woman aviators (such as Jean Batten) would look more frequently to Johnson and Markham as role models than to Earhart, Quimby, or Nichols.