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The Lady Who Flew Africa

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The Lady Who Flew Africa

Old 18th Mar 2015, 08:53
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The Lady Who Flew Africa

On BBC 4 last night, concerning Tracey Curtis-Taylor's re-tracing the epic flight from Capetown to Goodwood by Lady Mary Heath in 1928.
A fine looking Stearman, with interesting shots of it taxiing incongruously past modern jet airliners. Worth a look!
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 12:43
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Agreed. Fantastic programme, makes me want to go and do some bush flying! Some very sad scenes of rhino poaching though
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 12:57
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Truly brilliant programme and I take my hat off to the lady. Her Stearman visited Blackbushe last year and I was lucky enough to get a snap:

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Old 18th Mar 2015, 12:57
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+1 on the poaching scene, made so very much worse by the fact that rhino horn is just matted hair and has no medical value at all.
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 12:59
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Totally agree with previous post. Although I thought they may have been able to make it into longer program given the size of Africa and the bits which were missed so to speak. Also it would have been interesting to see a little bit of the flight through Europe given winter conditions / traffic.


Regards
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 13:20
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A phone call somewhat interrupted the last 20 minutes for me, but I agree that the subject could easily have made it at least a 2 part programme!

For anyone who missed it, look out for the repeat or perhaps check BBC iPlayer
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 13:21
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Drift thread, but the way forward is to inject cyanide into their horns. It does not affect the animal but it sure does the end user if the Rhino is poached and the horn used for 'medicinal' purposes. The word will soon get around China.

Bush flying Doing some on Friday. Short strips, diving at the threshold over the top of tall trees, dodging birds in the air and animals on the strip. All VFR hands on stuff.

I am exhausted just thinking about it. Guess I was better off with auto land and miles of tarmac. It is a young guy's game. The old man will just sit back in the RHS and enjoy.
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 17:26
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Ref the cyanide in rhino horns, aren't they starting to paint something onto elephant's tusks that is poisonous if handled? I seem to recall reading about it a few months ago, and it seemed an excellent idea.
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 18:16
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By coincidence, Tracey was speaking at the RAeS Oxford Branch last night. Great talk, catch it if you can. She had her 'mate' with her, Dame Diana Rigg!

She says they have hours and hours of film in the can. Hope more of it can be shown.
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Old 18th Mar 2015, 18:31
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^ True Entertainment (Freeview 61) is currently showing the Avengers at 8 pm on week days, but have now shown all the older ones including Diana Riggs' ones, and are now showing the Linda Thorson ones.
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Old 19th Mar 2015, 09:31
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Fantastic programme! What occurred to me whilst watching was there must of been a chase plane doing the filming.

Any ideas what it would have been?
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Old 19th Mar 2015, 09:39
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It was a C208 Caravan.
You see the odd shot of Tracy inside it when the Stearman had the Mag drop, and also fleeting glimpses of it parked at various airfields.
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Old 19th Mar 2015, 13:37
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And it's shadow flying fairly close to the Stearman as they flew over the bush. Presumably that's how they got the "peeling off" shots.
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Old 19th Mar 2015, 17:14
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It seems Mary Heath wrote a book about her journey. It's called "Women and Flying", but it's not readily available.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 17:26
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I thought it a fascinating programme and agree with Mr Mac that I also would like to have seen more.


Re the landing shown at Goodwoood. Was that the actual homecoming? I ask because I would have thought there would have been more of a welcome/recognition but also on the film shown, I am sure there was another person in the front cockpit so perhaps this was filmed on another occasion.
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Old 30th Mar 2015, 20:16
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At the Oxford talk, Tracey said he regularly gave flights to people in the front seat - sponsors, helpers, friendly people, etc. I don't think it was billed as solo all the way, was it?
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Old 15th Jun 2015, 08:13
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I thought it best to clarify a couple of the aspects of Tracey Curtis-Taylor's Spirit of Artemis flight from Cape Town to Goodwood.


She did 44 flights within Africa from Cape Town to Crete in Greece.

On 40 of these flights, she was accompanied by her instructor (20000+ hours, and the same man who (beautifully) rebuilt the aeroplane from scratch).

On two of the solo flights, she asked the C208 to fly slowly in front of her as she was worried she wouldn't find the destination airfield (despite having two moving map GPS in the cockpit).

She had three pilots doing all the flight planning and preparation, filing of flight plans etc. and a full support organisation for all the ground logistics.
In short, perhaps not the 'achievement' she seeks to portray - and certainly nothing compared to Mary Heath's story (or many others).


In 2015 she accepted the prestigious Light Aircraft Association's Bill Woodhams Trophy normally awarded for 'Feats of Navigation'.


I consider it unfortunate:
- That her flight was judged the winner for 2014.
- That she was prepared to accept it (as opposed to politely declining).
- That whoever was in 'second place' missed out on what should perhaps have been theirs?


Looking to set the story a little straighter before this goes into the history books...


Safe flights, Sam.
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Old 15th Jun 2015, 23:52
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I've only just seen this thread. I thought it was going to be about Beryl Markham, flying in Kenya in the 20s. Her autobiography is "West with the Night". Wonderful book.
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Old 16th Jun 2015, 13:05
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Now, SHE was an aviator!
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Old 2nd Jul 2015, 21:59
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Having just watched the repeat, I'm also disappointed in the filming itself. There was precious little detail about the plane, its restoration, about the massive mountain range she had to cross (how high? how cold?), how she navigated, and whole host of other details.

Now I read here that much of that stuff was taken care of for her.

While the in-flight shots were marvellous, there weren't enough of them. Sorry, but it just seemed like a wasted opportunity.
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