Known as the Greta Garbo of the skies, Jean Batten was New Zealand’s (and arguably the world’s) greatest aviator in the mid-1930s rising to fame through a number of record-breaking solo flights across the world.
In 1929 she and her mother moved to England, to join the London Aeroplane Club. According to nzhistory.nz.net Jane was instantly captivated and “borrowed money from a young New Zealand pilot, Fred Truman, who wanted to marry her” to fund the 100 hours flying time required to gain her private and commercial licenses.
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Jean Batten’s astonishing world records
In 1936 Jean made the first-ever solo flight from England to New Zealand. Not only that, she did it without a parachute, lifeboat or radio!
Here’s a look back at some of Jean’s records that broke the barriers of time, distance and gender:
- the first woman to fly herself across the South Atlantic
- the fastest time for the crossing of the South Atlantic
- the fastest time from Britain to Brazil – 61 hours, beating the existing record by 1 full day
- fastest time from Australia to England – 5 day, 18 hours, and 14 minutes