Sunday 23 October 2016

'Bird in a Biplane' poised to complete Australia marathon flight

Published 08/01/2016 | 13:31

Tracey Curtis-Taylor in front of her 1942 Boeing Stearman Spirit of Artemis biplane
Tracey Curtis-Taylor in front of her 1942 Boeing Stearman Spirit of Artemis biplane

Well-wishers are rallying behind a British aviatrix who is poised to finish her 13,000-mile solo flight from Britain to Australia in a vintage open cockpit biplane.

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Good luck messages were flooding in to self-styled "Bird in a Biplane" Tracey Curtis-Taylor, 53 - who set off in her 1942 Boeing Stearman Spirit of Artemis aircraft from Farnborough, Hampshire, in October.

She has since flown across 23 countries, making some 50 refuelling stops over the course of three months, and has now arrived in Griffith in New South Wales, Australia.

Tomorrow she will reach her final destination - Sydney - to emulate pioneering British aviator Amy Johnson who became the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia in 1930.

On Facebook, one well-wisher posted: "Absolutely wonderful, Tracey. You've done it. Please give a big hug and kiss to your biplane."

Another wrote: "Huge congratulations to you, Tracey, on an amazing achievement. By following your posts, a little bit of me feels I've travelled along. What an adventure."

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."

Her route has taken 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.

But she is not unfamiliar with this form of flying. In 2013, she flew 8,000-miles solo from Cape Town to Goodwood, West Sussex, to recreate the 1928 flight of Lady Mary Heath.

Press Association

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