Jean Gardner Batten CBE OSC was a New Zealand aviator. Born inRotorua, she became the best-known New Zealander of the 1930s,internationally, by taking a number of record-break…ing solo flightsacross the world. Born : September 15, 1909, Rotorua, NewZealand .
Died : November 22, 1982, Majorca,Spain .
Nationality : New Zealand.
Siblings : John Batten .
Books : Alone in the Sky , Jean Batten: My Life - New Zealand'sGreatest Woman Pilot .
Parents : Frederick Batten , Ellen Batten .
Biography Jean Batten was the daughter of a dental surgeon named FrederickBatten and a mother named Ellen Batten who became a strongsupporter of her career as a pilot. In 1924 she was enrolled into agirls' boarding college in Remuera in Auckland where shestudied ballet and piano. Though she was a gifted pianist, at theage of 18 she wanted to become a pilot, inspired by the Australian Charles Kingsford Smith ,who took her for a flight in his Southern Cross . In 1929she moved to England with her mother to join the London AeroplaneClub. She took her first solo flight in 1930 and gained private andcommercial licences by 1932, borrowing Â£500 from Fred Truman, a NewZealand pilot serving in the Royal Air Force who wanted to marryher, to fund the 100 hours flying time required. After completingher "B" license in December 1932, she left Truman and turned toVictor DorÃ©e, who borrowed Â£400 from his mother to buy Batten a Gipsy Moth biplane.According to NZ History Online, "Raising money by taking advantageof her relationships with men was a theme that continued throughouther flying career."  Batten made two unsuccessful attempts to beat AmyJohnson 's time to Australia. In April 1933 she hit twosandstorms before the engine failed, and wrecked the aircraft. Shecrash-landed near Karachi . Returning toLondon she could not persuade DorÃ©e to buy her another aircraft, soshe turned to the Castrol oil company, who bought her a second-handGipsy Moth for Â£240. She made another attempt in April 1934, butran out of fuel at night on the outskirts of Rome. Flying into amaze of radio masts, she crash landed and nearly severed her lip.The plane was repaired and she flew it back to London, where sheborrowed the lower wings from the aircraft of her fiancÃ©,stockbroker Edward Walter, for a third attempt.  In May 1934, Batten successfully flew solo from England toAustralia in the Gipsy Moth. Her trip of 14 days and 22 hours beatthe existing England-to-Australia record of English aviator AmyJohnson by over four days.  For this achievement and for subsequent record-breaking flights,she was awarded the Harmon Trophy threetimes from 1935 to 1937. She also received an endorsement contractwith Castrol oil. Batten'sbook about her trip, Solo Flight , was published by Jacksonand O'Sullivan Ltd in 1934. Batten took a boat to New Zealand withthe Gipsy Moth (which could not have flown across the TasmanSea ) and made a six-week aerial tour there before returning toEngland. Batten'srecord-breaking Percival Gull Six named Jean on its engine cowling at a 1954 UK air show.
After her first Australia flight Batten bought a Percival Gull Six monoplane, G-ADPR , which was named Jean . In 1935 sheset a world record flying from England to Brazil in the Gull, forwhich she was presented the Order of the SouthernCross , the first person other than Royalty to be sohonoured.  In 1936 she set another world record with a solo flight fromEngland to New Zealand. At her birthplace of Rotorua she washonored by local MÄori , as she had beenafter the 1934 journey. She was given a chief's feather cloak and giventhe title Hine-o-te- Rangi - "Daughter of theSkies". Batten was created Commander of theBritish Empire (CBE) in 1936, and she was also given the Crossof Chevalier of the French Legionof Honour that year. Also in 1936, for the second successiveyear, Batten was again awarded the Royal Aero Club 's Britannia Trophy formost meritorious performance in aviation during the previousyear. In 1938, she was the first woman to be awarded the medal of the FÃ©dÃ©ration AÃ©ronautiqueInternationale , aviation's highest honour. Throughout the 1930sshe was very social and made many friends with other aviatorsinternationally, as she described in her autobiography. World War II endedBatten's flying adventures. Her Gull was commissioned to activeservice but Batten was not permitted to fly it. During the war shewas involved in campaigns giving lectures in England to raise moneyfor guns and aeroplanes, but her flying days were over. After thewar she retired from public life except for a few anniversaryappearances.  Batten became a recluse and lived in several places around theworld with her mother until her mother's death in 1965. In 1977 shewas guest of honour at the opening of the Aviation PioneersPavilion at Auckland's Museum of Transportand Technology , after which she returned to her home inSpain.  In 1982 she was bitten by a dog on the island of Majorca . Sherefused treatment and the wound became infected.  She died alone in a hotel on Majorca, from complications from thedog bite, and was buried on 22 January 1983 in an anonymous grave.A bureaucratic error, however, meant that neither relatives, normost of the world, learned of her death until September1987.  Batten's autobiography, My Life , was published by George G. Harrap in 1938and is now available in full online at the New Zealand Electronic TextCenter , part of the Victoria University ofWellington Library . An extended version was printed under thetitle Alone in the Sky by N.Z. Technical books in 1979. Because of her striking looks, her glamorous appearance atreceptions (she always took a dress with her on her record-breakingflights), and her later reclusive ways, Batten became known as the" Greta Garbo of theskies". In October 2008 a musical Garbo of the Skies writtenby Paul Andersen-Gardiner and Rebekah Hornblow had its inaugural performance in Opunake by the Opunake Players at the Lakeside Playhouse. This was based onIan Mackersey's biography. . ( Full Answer )