Wow ….

Die Pilotin Tracey Curtis-Taylor ist in Sydney gelandet, nach der epischen Reise von Großbritannien im Flugzeuge aus dem Jahr 1942.

By Jonathan Pearlman, Sydney
12:15PM GMT 09 Jan 2016

Female pilot Tracey Curtis-Taylor lands in Sydney after epic journey from Britain in 1942 aircraft
The British adventurer recreating a historic 13,000 mile solo flight from the UK to Australia has landed in Sydney, saying: ‚I need a drink‘

SpirofArte
Female pilot Tracey Curtis-Taylor lands in Sydney after epic journey from Britain in 1942 aircraft
The British adventurer recreating a historic 13,000 mile solo flight from the UK to Australia has landed in Sydney, saying: ‚I need a drink‘

Before setting off on her treacherous 14,600-mile solo voyage across the world in a vintage open-cockpit biplane, British aviator Tracey Curtis-Taylor was aware of the risks and planned for the worst.

So much so she had even carefully detailed her own funeral arrangements.

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Today she joked she „needed a drink“, after completing a three-month journey to retrace a pioneering feat of legendary aviator Amy Johnson, who in 1930 became the first woman to fly solo between Britain and Australia.
Setting off in October in her tiny 1942 Boeing Stearman, the 53-year-old soon faced thick “unflyable” fog that left her flying blind in Romania. Later, she flew through frightening dust storms in Saudi Arabia and fierce hot winds in central Australia.

But none of these proved to be her greatest moment of terror.

Instead, and somewhat fittingly, the biggest danger came from a threat that had also been faced by Johnson herself, whose 1930 voyage from London to Sydney was the model for Curtis-Taylor’s.

About 500 feet above the Pakistani city of Karachi, Curtis-Taylor suddenly found herself flying through countless flocks of “huge raptors”, or large birds, including vultures, eagles and buzzards.

Flying pioneer Amy Johnson ‚chopped to pieces by Royal Navy ship’s propeller‘, historian says

Recalling the episode after finally completing her voyage in Sydney on Saturday, Curtis-Taylor said she knew as she steered that a collision with a single bird could prove fatal.

Recalling the episode after finally completing her voyage in Sydney on Saturday, Curtis-Taylor said she knew as she steered that a collision with a single bird could prove fatal.

“They were massing all around, wheeling all around the plane – sometimes they were out front looking down on me,” she said.

“If one flew into the engine, I wouldn’t get out [alive]. I didn’t know whether to try to dodge them or whether they will dodge me. In the end you just a steer course… Amy made the same comment in her memoirs. But the bloody things are still there, 80 years later.”
In her vintage reconditioned piston-engine plane, without a parachute and using 2,100 gallons of fuel, Curtis-Taylor traversed 23 countries after taking off from Farnborough on October 1 in her plane, the Spirit of Artemis. Unlike Johnson, who famously set her course by using a ruler to draw a direct line between England and Australia, Curtis-Taylor was forced to fly around warzones in the Middle East and to navigate a maze of varying airspace rules and airport regulations in this age of the autopilot, which is often ill-equipped to deal with a vintage, fly-by-sight plane.

Curtis-Taylor’s voyage, aided by a support crew, eventually took her across Europe and over the Dead Sea and the Arabian desert to India, Pakistan and through Asia to Australia.

In the cockpit, her only modern conveniences were a GPS device and an iPad, which was essential for navigating a path through military airspaces and restricted zones. But she said the only damage to her plane was some dents from landing on a gravel strip in the Australian outback.

“It is all visual contact,” she said.
“I can’t fly at night, I can’t fly in cloud, I can’t fly in severely reduced visibility. It is stick and rudder. I am flying the terrain as I see it. I have a GPS, but if I see things I like I swoop in – over emus and kangaroos, over the rivers, looking for crocodiles. It is one of the rarest adventures in the world.”

An experienced solo pilot, Curtis-Taylor said the weather and varying winds posed almost daily challenges, including a period fog in eastern Europe that forced her to land in a cow paddock in Hungary. In Saudi Arabia, she said, thunderstorms and dust storms forced her to “track” roads, keeping an altitude of about 100 feet.

“But they still have pylons and towers,” she said. “You have to be so careful. There were jagged rock mountains that loomed straight out of the desert. You are in lightning and it is dark as night. Every day there was something.”

Before departing, Curtis-Taylor, who lives in London, prepared a will and made funeral arrangements, including directions for the catering and music (she selected the songs Southern Cross by Crosby, Stills & Nash, about a Pacific sea voyage, and Gordon Lightfoot’s If You Could Read My Mind).

“It is macabre, but if it all ended tomorrow this would have been a price worth paying,” she said.

“Even the worst bits – when I am tired or frightened – I love being in the airplane. Every time I see the Spirit of Artemis my pulse quickens and I can’t wait to get in and take off. As the wheels are rolling down the runway, I feel this absolute intoxication – the detachment, the freedom.”

Curtis-Taylor grew up in England and Canada and first encountered flying when she and her two sisters were taken to air shows by her journalist father.

But she says she became captivated by the romance of the early days of aviation after seeing the film Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines.

However, she said, it proved difficult to make it in the male-dominated world of aviation. Her effort to join the RAF as a pilot was denied and she worked various jobs while gradually preparing to fulfil her dream of piloting a vintage plane across the world.
Throughout, she was inspired by Johnson, who completed the solo voyage to Australia at the age of 26 in just 19 days. Johnson was greeted as a hero and became an international celebrity but died after crashing into the Thames in mysterious circumstances while flying for the Air Transport Auxiliary in 1941; her body was never recovered.

“All my life I have heard of Amy Johnson,” Curtis-Taylor said.

“She was so inexperienced, so naive, and she was pitted against a male-dominated establishment. Her astounding achievement was her flight to Australia. I can’t replicate that. I am not trying to. My flight is a tribute to that.”

Despite the fanfare awaiting her arrival in Sydney on Saturday, she said she had little sensation of accomplishment or triumph or “completion”.

“I am overwhelmed by the fantastic messages I’ve received, but it is never finished,” she said. “I don’t have a sense of triumph or resting on laurels. I am quite a restless person. I just want to fly. I wish I was leaving tomorrow and flying on.”

Quelle: The Telegraph

25 Kommentare zu „Wow ….

      1. Ja, das war noch milde. Früher wurde ich schon als „verrückt“ hingestellt, wenn ich meine Angst offen ausgesprochen habe.
        Solche Idioten sterben leider nie aus.

        Gefällt mir

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