In 1930, 26-year-old British aviator Amy Johnson made history when she became the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia. Nearly 86 years later, a female pilot has paid tribute to the pioneering aviator’s legacy by completing her own transcontinental flight.
Tracey Curtis-Taylor, 53, triumphantly landed in Sydney on January 9, after soaring approximately 13,000 miles across the globe in a vintage open cockpit biplane named Spirit of Artemis. Some of her first words upon hitting the tarmac in her 1942 Boeing Stearman? “I need a drink. And I need a hairdresser,” Curtis-Taylor told the cheering crowd.
It wasn’t an easy journey. Curtis-Taylor—who began her trip on October 1, 2015—flew across 23 countries, made 50 refueling stops, and weathered monsoons, thunderstorms, scorching heat, and turbulence before reaching her final destination.
Unlike Johnson, Curtis-Taylor didn’t complete the trip on her own. (Both a team of engineers and a camera crew tagged along.) However, she did try to emulate her predecessor’s flight as much as possible with basic period instruments, an open cockpit plane, and a short range between landing points.
According to Curtis-Taylor, groundbreaking pilots like Johnson have inspired her for her whole life. In 2013, she underwent a similar trip, flying nearly 10,000 miles from Cape Town, South Africa, to England in honor of Lady Mary Heath’s landmark flight in 1928. Learn more about Curtis Taylor via her website, or check out the video above.
All images courtesy of YouTube.