Evelyn Bryan Johnson, recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s highest-time pilot, was injured seriously in an automobile accident Sept. 10.
Known far and wide as “Mama Bird,” she was on her way to Moore-Murrell Airport (MOR), which she has managed for 53 years at Morristown, Tenn. A tractor-trailer rig slowly pulled away from a traffic light ahead of her. According to news reports, she might have been blinded momentarily by the rising sun, and she rear-ended the truck.
The impact crumpled the front end of her Ford Escort as it wedged under the trailer, injuring her legs. Doctors at the University of Tennessee Medical Center later had to amputate her left leg.
“Mama Bird,” who will be 97 on Nov. 4, is believed to have racked up more flight hours than any other living person and more than any other woman, living or dead.
The last we heard, she was approaching 58,000 hours logged since her first flight on Oct. 1, 1944. She became a flight instructor in 1947 and still was instructing at the time of the accident.
She has been the subject of numerous articles in magazines (including this one) and newspapers, as well as radio and television features.
At press time, she was recovering at Life Care Center of Jefferson City, 336 W. Old Andrew Jackson Highway, Jefferson City, Tenn., 37760.
She is “very alert and positive,” according to a friend who has talked with her. Well-wishing cards and letters are welcome, as are prayers, we are assured.