Evelyn Johnson Flies On

Evelyn Johnson, one of the world’s most experienced pilots, dies at 102.

Evelyn Johnson
Evelyn Johnson
Evelyn Johnson

Evelyn “Mama Bird” Johnson, a flight instructor and designated FAA examiner who has been credited as having accumulated more hours than any other woman to date, died on May 10 at the age of 102. Johnson was instructing and giving flight exams into her late 90s and accumulated a total of 57,635.4 hours during her long flying career. Johnson conducted more than 9,000 flight tests and taught thousands of people to fly.

Johnson became a flight instructor in 1947 and a designated FAA examiner in 1952. She also owned the Morristown Flying Service in for 33 years, was a Cessna dealer for 19 years and served as the manager of the Moore-Murrell Airport in Morristown, Tennessee, for several decades. She was named the FAA Flight Instructor of the Year in 1979 and her dedication to flight training and general aviation earned her a spot in the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2007. She was also inducted into the Women in Aviation Pioneers Hall of Fame, the National Flight Instructors Hall of Fame and the Kentucky and Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame.