A British flyer said she was “euphoric” at completing 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 flew across 23 countries, making 50 refuelling stops over the course of three months, and arrived at Sydney Airport on Saturday.
Tracey has followed in the slipstream of Amy Johnson, the pioneering British aviatrix who became the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia in 1930.
She said: “I’m tired, it’s been a pretty intense week with all the build-up to the final arrival, I’m relieved, euphoric, it’s great to be here.”
She said Johnson had been a great inspiration to her throughout the journey: “You can’t do this without a great sense of empathy and sympathy for what she went through, what she achieved is so brilliant.”
“This generation needs to know what the pioneers achieved and how they resolved to break the records.”
Tracey, originally from Stamford, but who grew up in Cumbria and now lives in London, said the highlights of her journey included flying over the Dead Sea, the deserts of Arabia, the mountains of Burma and the coastline of Thailand.
She said: “I feel I have been privileged to have experienced this but I haven’t had the time to process it yet. I would like to sit down with a large drink and rest and reflect on what I have gone through. It’s been an astonishing experience - heaven and hell.”
And she’s not planning on stopping there. She said: “What I would really like to do is get back in the airplane and fly up the east coast of Australia. I wish I could keep going, I never want to land as the experience is so profound.”