Aviation pioneer Elly Beinhorn died

Elly BeinhornGerman aviation pioneer Elly Beinhorn-Rosemeyer died last Wednesday, November 28, at age of 100 (!) in a senior citizen home near Munich, Germany.
The 1907 born record holder was the first woman to circle the earth, in the early 1930s.

At age of 21, against the wishes of her parents she moved to Spandau in Berlin to learn to fly at Berlin-Staaken airport. Soon she did aerobatic displays at weekends in a small Klemm KL-20 plane.
Long distance flying was her real passion. In 1931 she seized the opportunity to fly to Portuguese Guinea (now Guinea-Bissau) West Africa on a scientific expedition. On the return journey, engine failure resulted in a crash-landing in the Sahara. With the help of nomadic Tuareg tribesmen, she joined a camel caravan to Timbuktu.

Shortly later, on her flight around the world, her Klemm monoplane was developing mechanical problems near Bushire, Persia. There she met Moye Stephens, who helped her fix the problem. Stephens and travel-adventure writer Richard Halliburton were flying around the world in a Stearman C-3B biplane, The Flying Carpet. She accompanied them on part of their flight, including the trip to Mount Everest. She flew on to Bali and Australia. In the process, she became only the second woman to fly solo from Europe to Australia, after Amy Johnson. Having landed in Darwin, North Australia, she headed down to Sydney, arriving in March 1932. Her plane was dismantled and shipped to New Zealand, then Panama where it was reassembled. Elly resumed flying, following the western coast of South America. She was presented with a medal in Peru. An ill-advised trip across the Andes followed. The plane was dismantled once more in Brazil and shipped to Germany. Elly arrived in Berlin in June 1932. (Map of world flight)

Back in Germany she was awarded the Hindenburg Cup and several other monetary awards from the German aeronautical industry, which enabled her to continue her career.

Elly Beinhorn was married to Bernd Rosemeyer, a race driver who died 1938 in an attempt to break a car speed record with 430 km/h. She will be buried in an honorary grave in Berlin.

Famous solo flights:
1931: Guinea Bissau (before the world flight).
1932: Round the World flight.
1933: Second african flight on a Heinckel single seater: Cairo, Captown, Libreville, Saint Louis, Casablanca, Tunis.
1934/35: Central America and United States (the Klemm crossed the Atlantic on a ship): Panama, Mexico, Los Angeles, New York.
1935: Two continents in one day: Gleiwitz, Istanbul, Berlin.
1936: Three continents in one day: Istanbul, Damas, Cairo, Budapest, with the new Messerchmitt Me108 Taifun.
1939: She tries to fly to Japan with the Taifun, but Japan and China are at war and war rumors in Europe force her to turn back in Bangkok.
1952: Flight to Benghazi with a Piper Cub: Colombier, Mailand, Roma, Catania, Tunis, Gabes, Tripoli, Marble Arch, Benghazi.

More information: http://soloflights.org/elly_text_e.html

Source: soloflights.org, Wikipedia, n-tv

6 thoughts on “Aviation pioneer Elly Beinhorn died”

  1. Hi,

    I was a neighbour of Elly Beinhorn in 1971/2 in Kirchbachweg Strasse. My name then was Dorothy Evans. I am an Australian. I have many treasured memories of my time in Munich where Frau Beinhorn was most kind. We spent days by the river and just chatting about her remarkable life. I am not surprised that she lived to be 100.5 years.

    On my return to Australia, I remarried and I named my daughter, born in 1976, Elly Hutton, after Elly Beinhorn. My Elly is also a remarkable woman. She is an electrical/electronic engineer working as a test engineer with General Motors on the development of air bags and safety features for the future. She represented Australia in the 2000 Sydney Olympics as a 100 meter sprinter in the relay.

    I would like to send my condolances to the family.

    Dorothy Hutton

  2. Sad news.

    I first read about Elly through reading the late Chris Nixon’s fantastic book “Racing the Silver Arrows”, and subsequently “Rosemeyer!” which, while nominally about her husband, was as much her biography as his. If you ever see a copy of either in a specialist or second hand bookshop, buy it!

    A genuinely heroic lady. We named our daughter Ellie (Eleanor).

  3. I just learned of Elly Beinhorn’s passing, after being raised by her cousin, Christel Frederik Martha v. Beinhorn. Mother had kept one of Elly’s books safely for many years in England, while I was growing up. I was so suprised to find out that Elly passed away so recently, and wish that I had had a chance to meet such a wonderful lady. My sincerest condolensces.
    Ms. Yvonne k. Dunlap.

  4. I live in South Australia and am a relative of Bernd Rosemeyer. My father Heinz Rosemeyer told me of a cousin who was a famous Grand Prix racing driver and his aviator wife Elly Beinhorn and thanks to the internet, I have read about Bernd and Elly’s love story and their short but adventurous life together.

    I would like to offer the family of Elly my sincerest condolences.

    Ms.Ingrid Rosemeyer

  5. I am writing a story for an Australian Aviation magazine about Elly Beinhorn. This is due for publication at the end of 2011/early 2012.

    It is lovely to know that Ingrid Rosemeyer and Yvonne Dunlap live in Australia. If either or both of them read this I would be delighted to hear from them if they have anything which they would like me to include in the story.

    Photographs or Elly, Bernd (Snr and Jnr) and Stephanie would be very much appreciated.

    Kindest wishes

    Peter Finlay