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-   -   Tracey Curtis-Taylor (Merged threads) (https://www.pprune.org/private-flying/579030-tracey-curtis-taylor-merged-threads.html)

9 lives 27th Jun 2016 16:44


she did it tougher than either of the aviatrices whose feats she claimed to be emulating.
Well... It can be "tougher" to accomplish something, if you're not as good as the other person who has done it before!

Mike Flynn 27th Jun 2016 16:47

Sometimes in life it helps to have the right connections.

TCT is a member of the HCAP who awarded her the Masters Medal for the UK to Australia jaunt.

The Light Aircraft Association awarded her the Bill Woodhams navigation trophy last year for her Cape Town to UK adventure. The chief executive of the LAA is Stephen Slater who is also a senior member of HCAP.

hoodie 27th Jun 2016 19:31

What are you implying re Steve Slater?

Mike Flynn 27th Jun 2016 20:52

In answer to Hoodie I am not suggesting Steve Slater had any part in giving the navigation award to TCT. Just pointing out that connections or 'networking' as it is called these days goes a long way.

TCT was socially well known to Steve and the HCAP long before her awards as a bit of googling will reveal.

She certainly knows how to self promote once the door is open as can be seen and heard in the various media interviews. She has the ability of a politician to convey a message without actually commiting herself.

Her BBC Today programme appearance was a classic when Nick Robinson gave her free rein to run through the same script we hear every time without question.

If the LAA want to give their annual navigation award to someone flying a Stearman with a GPS on the panel and an airline pilot owner in the front seat who am I to argue.

Perhaps next year they will give it to a Tipsy Nipper pilot with a GPS "celebrating" Bleriot's historic flight across the English Channel.

hoodie 27th Jun 2016 20:53

Steve Slater is a decent bloke, who does not deserve sly public innuendo of this kind.

Aviation is a very small world, and it is no surprise whatsoever that individuals know each other: To wit, Steve Slater knowing poeople in both LAA and HCAP. It is not proof of a conspiracy.

TCT's claims are suspect, to be sure - but don't drag down other people in your campaign.

kghjfg 27th Jun 2016 21:02

What genuinely amazes me is that the LAA and HCAP don't mind being associated with the deceit. Neither have admitted they may have got it wrong and in fact she wasn't solo.

TCT herself has now admitted the deceit was wrong and that it was a team effort.

If the LAA and HCAP changed it to a team award, then everybody, including Jay should surely be happy. They've not got the integrity though.

Never thought I'd say this, but it turns out TCT has more integrity than they do !
That's what I find amazing.

Mike Flynn 27th Jun 2016 21:21

I have no personal agenda regarding anyone in this saga not least TCT.

Steve Slater is the paid chief executive of the LAA and as such has responsibility to his members.

Given all the facts that are in the public domain it is apparent she was given the navigation award without have to do the navigation. Quite apart from the airline pilot owner of the Spirit of Artemis being in the front seat she also had a support crew in another aircraft.

All the nav and met was done for her so please explain how she warrants an award?

What is wrong with the LAA chief exec saying we made a mistake and given new evidence we want to give it to the runner up? Has he ever convened a meeting regarding this issue?

As for the HCAP Masters Medal....while Tracey was waving to the assembled media in Sydney Tim Peake was orbiting the earth. I know who my choice for 2016 would be.

If the LAA and HCAP want to change the rules and make TCT's award a team effort then of course it moves the goalposts.

In my opinion Ewald deserves credit for a great looking Stearman restoration.He also appears to be every bit as photogenic as Tracey so why did they not use him in his role as restorer and pilot. She dismissed him as a "passenger" in the Arizona accident press coverage.

However I alerted the ABC in Australia in early May to the misreporting hence the correction on her Sydney story.

So when the Arizona incident occurred they reported..


Curtis-Taylor and crew member Ewald Gritsch managed to escape the crash unhurt, a fact she attributed to the plane's construction.
Adventurer Tracey Curtis-Taylor survives plane crash in Arizona Desert - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

By the time she was on BBC Radio 4's Midweek earlier this month Ewald was back to being a passenger.

India Four Two 28th Jun 2016 06:45


Ewald was back to being a passenger.
I saw a reference somewhere where she described him as her engineer.

9 lives 28th Jun 2016 11:35

I believe that people and organizations can manage their public image and credibility by how they handle a mistake that has been revealed after the fact.


Steve Slater is the paid chief executive of the LAA and as such has responsibility to his members.

Given all the facts that are in the public domain it is apparent she was given the navigation award without have to do the navigation.
I have heard of circumstances in which award winning sports figures have had awards publicly rescinded when their deceit became evident. In my opinion by the organization made the best out of a bad situation for themselves by doing that.

The lesson often learned by an organization is to dig deeper, verify facts, and hold to their own standards to maintain their credibility, and value to their members.

deefer dog 28th Jun 2016 16:46

I don't have the time or inclination to look it up, but I did read somewhere that the Stearman had been modified with the addition of extra fuel tank(s). Quite how much extra it fuel it could carry I have no idea, but one would presume it was at least double the norm - and maybe even more than that.

It would be interesting to learn what the gross weight of the aircraft was when it departed (or rather, crashed) from a high density altitude field on the leg she planned to fly (as sole manipulating pilot and navigator) across the USA .... with her 12,000 hour ATPL and Stearman owner "passenger."

Jetblu 28th Jun 2016 17:51


"I have heard of circumstances in which award winning sports figures have had awards publicly rescinded when their deceit became evident. In my opinion by the organization made the best out of a bad situation for themselves by doing that.

The lesson often learned by an organisation is to dig deeper, verify facts, and hold to their own standards to maintain their credibility, and value to their members."

And there lies the very basic fundamentals of the integrity test.

We'll wait and see in anticipation.

Mike Flynn 28th Jun 2016 20:05

In reply to Deefer Dog I am puzzled by TCT suggestions on BBC Radio 4 Midweek that the range of the Amy Johnson DH Tiger Moth was far in excess of the Stearman.

More puzzling is the stats I can find online regarding the range of the Boeing
Stearman.

Ewald's site below suggests a maximum range of 505 miles.
Boeing Stearman

So how did they cross from Dili to Darwin which is 545 NM with two on board?
They must have had life rafts and survival equipment adding to the load.Full fuel on take off adding to extra weight?

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped.../Timor_See.jpg

The Master of the HCAP was suggesting in his award letter I posted earlier that she faced serious challenges. In a lot of her interviews she mentions the "shark infested Timor Sea".

However I am not aware of any downed pilot been eaten by a shark in those parts.
see these stats. http://www.sharkattackdata.com/place/indonesia

Given a choice of where I would like to cross water in a small single engine aircraft I would choose the Timor Sea crossing to Darwin over Jersey to Bournemouth.

Sadly on reflection I have pushed my luck too much in the past flying the latter in winter and often at night in Cherokee. Not much glamour in such mundane flying and never going to get a gong for it or appear on Midweek.

C'est la vie

Danny42C 28th Jun 2016 20:54

Jay Sata,

Same source says the the normal tankage was 43 US gallons in the centre section of the upper wing. That would take up all the space available. From there it was gravity-fed to the engine.

With two-up and with a dinghy and baggage, can't see how you would find space for any more.

Danny42C.

Mike Flynn 28th Jun 2016 21:43

I am not an engineer so how could you increase the range given the extra weight of the fuel required to have a margin for headwinds and weather?

abgd 29th Jun 2016 01:25

I suppose rather than planning for a headwind you could wait until you had a good tailwind, choose a slow cruise, and let the weather help you.

You could also choose to fly in a straight line - in which case the distance would only be 451 miles (according to the Great Circle Mapper)

Great Circle Mapper

Interestingly the map on her (cringeworthily named) birdinabiplane website shows a flight from Timor to Kununurra which is 542 miles. Perhaps the reason she flew to Darwin instead was because it is shorter.


However I am not aware of any downed pilot been eaten by a shark in those parts.
That's a big ask. I doubt there are that many pilots ditching in the Timor sea to be eaten, so it's not a surprise you're unable to find record of any. But I imagine you're likely to find sharks there if you try.

Stanwell 29th Jun 2016 05:59

I believe Amy Johnson's DH-60 was fitted with considerable extra tankage in the front passenger space.
I did read somewhere that Ewald had equipped the Stearman with extra tankage - but, as Danny says, exactly where he would have fitted it is a bit of a mystery.

In an earlier post on here, I think someone did say that their flight over the Timor Sea was to Kunnunurra - and from there to Darwin (Seems a bit strange to me too, I'll have to check on that).

I recall our local Stearman joyflight operator did tell me that his standard 220hp R-670 Continental-powered jobby consumes 50 litres per hour (two-up with minimal fuel) at its most economical (90mph @ 3000 feet).
An aerobatic session uses 60 litres per hour.

For some reason, the ordinary Lycoming R-680 is known to be a bit thirstier than the Continental.
Earlier in this thread, Flying Lawyer informed us that Ewald's Stearman was fitted with a 300hp Lycoming R-680.
That, then, would mean that it's probably an R-680-13, a fairly thirsty beast.

So anyway, just for the exercise, I did a couple of table-napkin calculations based on a standard, loaded 220hp Continental Stearman, using a conversion of:
1 US gallon = 3.785 litres.
Thus, the standard 43 USG tankage would give an endurance of just under three hours.
On standard tankage, three hours at 90mph gives a distance of 266 statute miles. Not quite enough.

Therefore, as deefer dog has noted, Ewald's machine would have to have, at the very least, double the tankage - especially given the thirst of an R-680-13.

Anybody got Ewald's phone number?


Oh, BTW, chaps ... The word around Darwin is that there are no longer any sharks in the Timor Sea - y'see, some time ago, the saltwater crocodiles cleaned 'em out.
.

abgd 29th Jun 2016 06:53

Mystery half-solved:

Category: | NT News

"Ms Curtis-Taylor landed in Darwin just after 6.30pm on New Year’s Day, completing the journey from Great Britain, more than eight decades after Amy Johnson’s first pioneering journey in 1930 [.....]
Ms Curtis-Taylor had two days rest before setting off to Kununurra and Alice Springs on the way to Sydney."

As for the fuel, my question wouldn't be where they put it, but how much payload the aircraft had. Presumably TCT doesn't weigh much. One payload figure bandied around - 492lb when already fully fueled - should take care of 2 pilots, a life raft and a fair amount of extra fuel.

Stanwell 29th Jun 2016 07:30

Thanks, abgd.
Still not quite adding up in my tiny brain, though.
The two crew plus liferaft would probably go about 350lb, at best. That leaves only about 140lb for extra fuel.
Where did the 492lb payload figure come from, can I ask?

airpolice 29th Jun 2016 08:29

Maybe, just maybe, Ewald flew that leg without Tracy on board.

abgd 29th Jun 2016 10:07

Boeing Stearman - Plane & Pilot Magazine

Let's say TCT weighs 55kg and Ewald 75 - no idea really - never seen them, but for not-particularly-weighty people that's quite feasible. A lightweight raft might be 5kg. 135kg. 492lb -135kg = 88kg. 88kg of fuel is about 122 litres. 122 litres is 32 us gallons - 2.5 hours of flight at 13gph. OK, the tank may weigh a bit too. And if they were to have taken off slightly heavy who would know? There were mail-carrying Stearmans that seemed to have considerably greater payloads.

Whatever, someone seems to have flown the aircraft across the sea.


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