British adventurer lands in Sydney after 20,000 km solo flight from England in vintage plane

Tracey Curtis-Taylor crossed 23 countries and made 50 refuelling stops since she started her flight last October

british, adventurer, sydney, solo, flight, vintage, plane

Image: Chris Ison / PA Archive/PA Images

A British adventurer has touched down in Sydney after a 13,000-mile (almost 21,000 km) solo flight in a vintage open-cockpit biplane.

Tracey Curtis-Taylor, who calls herself a "Bird in a Biplane", set off from Farnborough in Hampshire, England in October last year.

Since then she has crossed 23 countries and made 50 refuelling stops in her 1942 Boeing Stearman Spirit of Artemis aircraft.

She flew over Europe and the Mediterranean to Jordan, over the Arabian desert, across the Gulf of Oman to Pakistan, India and across Asia before reaching Australia.

Once there, her stops included Darwin, Tennant Creek, Alice Springs, the famous Uluru in the Northern Territory and Broken Hill in New South Wales.

The 53-year-old told reporters at Sydney airport that the flying had been "sensational and that's why you do it".

She added: "To fly something like this, low level, halfway around the world seeing all the most iconic landscapes, geology, vegetation ... it's just the best view in the world.

"It's the best adventure in the world."

Ms Curtis-Taylor was following the path of Amy Johnson, the British pilot who became the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia in 1930.

Before Ms Curtis-Taylor began her mission, she had spoken of how she was "moved by the achievements of pioneers like Amy Johnson".

She added: "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."

The recreation of Johnson's flight extended to the open cockpit, stick and rudder flying with basic instruments from that time and the short distance between stops.

Most of her problems were not related to the plane's vintage controls, however, as she revealed she had spent seven hours trying to get fuel at one airport.

"I've lost my rag several times dealing with people on the ground," she said, recalling the incident.

"In the end, I just lay down on the tarmac and went to sleep with my head on my handbag."

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."