When female pilot Tracey Curtis-Taylor landed in Sydney, Australia after a 14,600-mile journey flying from the U.K. in a vintage open-cockpit biplane earlier this year, the first thing she said was "I need a drink!"
And who could blame her? The treacherous journey was far from easy. It took about three months in total and Curtis-Taylor encountered countless obstacles along the way. Not only did she fly through thick fog in Romania and dust storms in Saudi Arabia, but at one point she found herself surrounded by birds of prey over Pakistan. Eagles, buzzards and vultures swarmed around her. She knew that if one got into the engine her journey would be doomed.
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Luckily Curtis-Taylor survived and made it to her destination safely. Her bravery is truly astounding. Trace Dominguez got a chance to catch up with her at this year's Farnborough International Airshow in Hampshire, England where she told him all about her vintage plane, a Boeing-Stearman named Spirit of Artemis.
A plane like this is "probably the best flying adventure in the world," Curtis-Taylor told Trace. She explained that they're almost like art more than they are machine -- an art that should be preserved because it's starting to die out.
Curtis-Taylor said she often encounters aviation students that don't know how to fly planes like these and she thinks it's quite a shame. "I think this generation needs to be reminded ya know, that civil aviation was based really on people like me getting into wooden-fabric airplanes," she told Trace.
That's the important thing to remember: aviation as we know it today wouldn't have been possible without people like Tracy Curtis-Taylor, her piloting skills, her passion, and her incredible bravery.
-- Molly Fosco