‘Bird in a bi-plane’ completes 13,000-mile mission

Tracey Curtis-Taylor.
Tracey Curtis-Taylor.
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A BRITISH flyer has completed her “huge adventure” after touching down in Sydney at the end of a 13,000-mile solo flight from Britain to Australia in a vintage open cockpit biplane.

Self-styled “Bird in a Biplane” Tracey Curtis-Taylor, 53, set off in her 1942 Boeing Stearman Spirit of Artemis aircraft from Farnborough, Hampshire, in October.

She has flown across 23 countries, making 50 refuelling stops over the course of three months, and has now arrived at Sydney Airport.

She posted on Facebook: “Finished Sydney Airport! End of huge adventure, thank you everyone who supported me.”

Ms Curtis-Taylor followed in the slipstream of Hull-born Amy Johnson, the pioneering British aviatrix who became the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia in 1930.

Maureen Dougherty, president of Boeing Australia and South Pacific, which sponsored the adventure, said: “Tracey’s flight is a wonderful reminder of how far aviation has advanced and the role women have played since those early days of flight. Congratulations to Tracey and her support team on this remarkable achievement.”

Before landing in Sydney, Ms Curtis-Taylor made stops in areas such as Darwin, Tennant Creek, Alice Springs and Uluru in the Northern Territory, Oodnadatta in South Australia, and Broken Hill in New South Wales. Before starting her flight, Ms Curtis-Taylor said in October: “For my whole life, I have been moved by the achievements of pioneers like Amy Johnson.

“My own flight to Australia is the realisation of a burning desire to fly my beloved Boeing Stearman around the world following in their footsteps. It has taken 30 years to arrive at this point, and now I not only have the desire to do it but also the resources and a huge network of support behind me.

“I am very, very grateful for this. It feels as if I am finally breaking free of the shackles of life and fulfilling a destiny which was always meant to be.”

Her route took her across Europe and the Mediterranean to Jordan, over the Arabian desert, across the Gulf of Oman to Pakistan, India and across Asia.

She has recreated the essence of Johnson’s era of flying, with an open cockpit, stick and rudder flying with basic period instruments and a short range between landing points.

In 2013, she flew 8,000 miles solo from Cape Town, South Africa, to Goodwood, West Sussex, to recreate the 1928 flight of Lady Mary Heath.