Today’s Google doodle is remembering pioneering female pilot Jean Batten on her 107th birth anniversary. The doodle is celebrating the never say die attitude of Batten, who despite a couple of failed attempts, became the first woman ever to fly solo across the South Atlantic. Also Read - Google, Facebook make vaccination mandatory for employees returning to office
Jean Gardner Batten was born on September 15, 1909 in Rotorua, New Zealand. After moving to Auckland, Batten was enrolled into a girls’ boarding college where she studied ballet and piano. At the age of 18 though a flight with Australian pilot Charles Kingsford Smith was enough to convince her to become a pilot. She took her first solo flight in 1930, and gained private and commercial licenses by 1932. In 1930, Batten made two unsuccessful attempts to fly from England to Australia. But rather than giving up, she found a sponsor willing to lend her a plane and in May 1934 successfully flew from England to Australia in a second-hand Gipsy Moth. Also Read - Fake Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) Lite APK links going viral on the internet: How to spot them
Batten took 14 days and 22 hours to reach her destination, and in the process broke the existing record held by England’s Amy Johnson by over four days. After setting the record, she was awarded the Harmon Trophy three times, as well as an endorsement from Castrol Oil. Also Read - Google's offline dinosaur game in new Olympics avatar: Here's how to can play
But that wasn’t the end of her achievements, and in 1936, Batten along with her lucky black cat (Buddy) made the first-ever direct flight from England to New Zealand. She described the moment the wheels hit the turf as “the very greatest moment of my life.” Batten was honored with the title of Hine-o-te-Rangi (“Daughter of the Skies”) in her home country, Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1936, and was also given the Cross of Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour. In 1938, she was also awarded the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, aviation’s highest honor. Needless to say, she was the first woman ever to receive the medal.