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

Saab Dastard 29th Apr 2016 16:23

To add a little to FL's description of the activities of the Honourable Company of Air Pilots, every year they provide scholarships to assist several young people (irrespective of background) in achieving their goal of becoming professional aviators, through the Air Pilots Flying Scholarship Programme.

Considerably more than back-slapping.


Genghis the Engineer 29th Apr 2016 16:44

All other arguments aside - surely the British honours system has inner workings that are a closely guarded secret - and rightly so. It seems to me that anybody claiming to know who is likely to be awarded anything - is most likely lying. Anybody actually privy to such knowledge, will be massively more discrete.

Anybody can nominate anybody else for an honour of course - that was a John Major reform I think. But making a nomination creates no certainty of an outcome.


Mike Flynn 29th Apr 2016 17:17

On reflection and reading Flying Lawyer's excellent and balanced post I withdraw my comment on the HGAP.

However the fact remains, in my opinion, that TCT does not warrant the LAA navigation award or the Masters medal. Her facebook page and media interviews suggest some pretty band airmanship with claims of scud running and low level flying. No doubt all part of embroidering the reality tv programme being filmed on both trips. Ice Road Truckers,Outback Truckers etc. However the participants do not get awards.

The Sydney arrival was deceitful to say the least.

Suggesting she is a mentor for aspiring female pilots implies that bending the truth to achieve success is the norm now.

Her claims to be commemorating Lady Mary Heath and Amy Johnson would have been more honourable if she had flown both trips solo in a Tiger Moth.

To look back at the early aviators it was basic flying on a hard seat in an open cockpit. Despite his lack of social panache Maurice Kirk was in my opinion the number one adventurer on the London to Sydney air race.

Heliport 30th Apr 2016 21:26

Jay Sata

Her facebook page and media interviews suggest some pretty bad airmanship with claims of scud running and low level flying.
Does good airmanship necessarily mean never intentionally breaking any rules? Not in my view.
Do you think the adventurous pilots you mentioned with admiration earlier in the thread never did any scud running and low level flying? :confused:

I share your admiration for them, and also your reservations about TCT, but let's keep things in perspective. A spirit of adventure and keeping strictly to the rules don't always sit easily together.
eg The great Alex Henshaw broke numerous rules during his epic Cape flights, and described doing so in his fascinating book The Flight of the Mew Gull. I don't think any less of him for doing so. Do you?

Mike Flynn 1st May 2016 09:56

I was being sarcastic and suggesting her claims were to add a dimension of danger and fighting the elements.

I doubt TCT ever saw any real bad weather. They dawdled along the route taking three months making their reality tv programme and staying in many five star hotels en route.

The whole saga was well funded by some generous sponsors coupled with slick orchestrated public relations.

The same applied to London to Sydney Air Race.

The winner,Spirit of Kai Tak,was a 'remanufactured' pressurized Piper Aerostar with a crew of four pilots!
However this press release tried to hype the journey.

London to Sydney Air Race 2001

"This race was a grueling test of both speed and endurance with a total distance of 12,040 nautical miles and a course that traveled through some of the most remote parts of the world."

"The London to Sydney Race consisted of 16 officially timed legs, averaging 494 nautical miles in length. "
Not exactly a hard task to fly an Aerostar over sixteen 500 nm hops.

By contrast Brian Milton and Eve Jackson really faced the elements in such a tiny aircraft but for me paraplegic Dave Sykes UK to Australia trip takes some beating.


Wageslave 2nd May 2016 10:50

Fascinating thread, but what has struck me is how many people consider it worth repeating the mantra of no GPS, no phone or radio when referring to the pioneers in a way suggesting the very thought of that is astonishing, or even that anyone might need something that banal and obvious pointing out at all!
I know we tend to be slaves to technology (phones esp.) but I am surprised - perhaps I shouldn't be - at the reaction to no GPS and radio as though navigation is is a major feat without them. Radios (comms) play no real part in navigation unless totally lost, and are then at best a minor help, (though in the modern international ATC environment all but essential) but has GPS really become so ubiquitous that we have people thinking it is essential to get from a to b and using a map and DR is somehow too difficult to be practical? Or am I reading too much into this?

Mike Flynn 2nd May 2016 18:34

To answer your point Wageslave I believe that a map,compass and a radio is all you need to fly the route. Can it be done in a Tiger Moth? For sure as Amy Johnson did it without modern oils etc in 21 days.

There is the challenge for any female aviator.

Did Tracy Curtis Taylor commemorate her trip?

I don't think so I and will come back to that later.

Without actually saying it FL you agree the spirit of Maurice Kirk,who flew a Cub from the UK to Japan and was then let down by his engine not his flying ,is what we are discussing here.

Sadly he will never get the society recognition for his flying achievements he deserves.

A social pariah but wonderful aviator does not qualify for awards in the past or now.

Kirk set off illegally from a farmers field on the north island of New Zealand knowing he could never make Norfolk Island in a Piper Cub if he played by the rules and left a customs designated airfield .

He did it and and went on to reach Japan before the engine not his flying let him down. He achieved a succesful forced landing and did the same some time later when his engine once again resulted in a ditching in the sea en route to South America.

During WW2 he would have been another Douglas Bader. If you google his site the man lets nothing beat him.

It is the spirit of adventure pilots and their airmanship I admire.

Check out the pilots and aircraft who were up front in the last London to Sydney Air Race it was nothing more than a well funded milk run.

A factory restored 700CR Aerostar, "Spirit of Kai Tak," has won the 2001 London to Sydney Air Race. Flown by a crew of four, consisting of chief pilot Mike Miller and pilot crew members James D'Arcy, John D'Arcy, and Mark Graham, the Spirit of Kai Tak finished first and averaged the fastest ground speed in the race with a blistering 279 knots (321 mph). The next fastest finishers were a King Air C90B with an average speed of 253 knots, a Piper Malibu Mirage at 211 knots, and
Expensive well funded flying hardware.
Speed Chart

It would have been more interesting if they all had to fly a small aircarft with map compass and radio along that route.

Dave Sykes managed it in a very basic airframe with a wheel chair. Eve Jackson and Brian Milton did the trip in a microlight so a Tiger Moth would be sheer luxury in comparison?

As for the question am I having a go a Tracy Curtis Taylor?

We all know her well oiled Artemis funded publicity machine and sponsors conveyed the impression it was a modern day Amy doing the route again. No mention the Stearman is a giant compared to the De Havilland or indeed that the aircraft owner , aircraft rebuilder and experienced flying instructor would be sitting up front for the entire trip.

Has she got questions to answer?

For sure.

“But she never actually said she was solo.”

So the response is:

Lying by omission?
It’s just by chance that ALL the press have reported it as solo?
It’s just by chance that her sponsors’ publications have reported it as solo?
Why has she never made a correction to any publication?
Why has she never posted on any of the multiple forum threads to defend the accusations of duplicity made against her?

Is this is raising the profile of women in aviation where a man,who is easily recognised as Ewald Grinstch,can be seen trying to hide from the international press in Sydney?

Surely he deserved credit for his help on the flight and work on the aircraft?

She has a lot of questions to answer.

I hope on the evening she is given the Masters Medal she is honest enough to tell the truth.

It was a duel flight but the press were misled. Sadly she has never attempted to explain that.

Never identified the mystery man hiding in the front of the Stearman as she wallows in the media applause in this picture.

On a final note...Tracy Curtis Taylor has a well edited Wiki page on the strength of her South Africa and UK to Sydney flights which are suggested as solo but clearly not.

Maurice Kirk has no wiki page despite his flying adventures and imprisonment for over three years in the UK without ever been found guilty of any crime deserving a custodial sentence.

If I had to appear before the HCAP on the evening she gets her token award I would be making the point there are others more worthy out there.

Heliport 2nd May 2016 19:39

I hope on the evening she is given the Masters Medal she is honest enough to tell the truth.
The people presented with awards do not make speeches. They say 'thank you' and move on, allowing the many others to be presented with theirs.
The only exceptions I can remember are Neil Armstrong and Jim Lovell who were asked to speak - much to the delight of all of us present.



piperboy84 2nd May 2016 20:03

I don't think you can question the "solo" aspects of her achievements if she brought along someone for the ride who took pics and documented the flight for PR purposes. Doing a UK to Oz flight in a Stearman is a helluva achievement. I've done 2000 mile one way flights in a slow plane over a few days and you get absolutely knackered physically and mentally. So TCT doing a 13000 mile journey takes tremendous effort and stamina not to mention piloting skills that merits recognition.

Even the space flights completed by the Challenger had crew members onboard whose primary function was to feed the monkeys, their presence didn't negate or diminish the skippers achievements.

Mike Flynn 2nd May 2016 20:06

Thanks for those links and without doubt a credit to the awards committe.

I also mention Maurice Kirk who despite his incredible achievements taking a Cub on a limited budget over halfway around the world would never get past the car park on such an occasion.

I notice no one wants to credit his achievements on this thread.

To me a lot of the PR surrounding these flights smacks of Blair and his dodgy dossier and Clinton with his Monica Lewinsky defence.

Don't let the facts get in the way.

Well publicised long distance flights such as the London Sydney run have always been for the wealthy funded individuals who want to make a song and dance about their achievements.

Romeo Tango did the UK to Australia and back to the UK in a single back in the mid 80's as he posted earlier in this thread and claimed it was no big deal.

However it appears that all of the major public names from day one were well funded while many unsung heroes have done the trip on a shoestring.

The real aviation heroes in my opinion are the ferry pilots who have flown single engine aircraft from the USA to Sydney across the Pacific for decades.

I got my single engine PA32 ferried from Camarillo in California to Sydney Australia by Southern Cross Aviation in 1989 and those guys never got a gong.

Routine work for the unsung real pilots out there.

Does it really make a difference what sex you are on these trips or indeed religion or colour.

Andy Hardy and Sam Kidd flew their old 1966 Cherokee to To Sydney in 2013 and raised over 10'000 for Oxfam.
The trip had to route through Denmark to add an additional fuel tank. Sadly as they were two normal blokes in an old aircraft the national and international press never even mentioned them.

I understand they never qualified for a LAA navigation award or a HCAP award as they were just ordinary people in and ordinary aircraft.


Genghis the Engineer 2nd May 2016 20:50

I'm not an admirer of MK for a whole bunch of reasons talked about in plenty of places - the records of how he was struck off as a vet, easily found online, are a good start. He could have done much of what he has, without breaking quite so many rules, or deliberately setting out to undermine other people's positions.

But some of the other names mentioned. Eve Jackson - largely unsupported, and built the aeroplane herself first! Dave Sykes - totally unsupported, and in a wheelchair when not in a microlight. Brian Milton - partially supported, partially solo and not brilliant at acknowledging those who did help him, but nonetheless he did it all with a great deal of flair and managed all of the flying himself. All three of these I've seen regularly just turning up and being "another aviator" at numerous aviation events, and for that they also deserve respect.

And various people who have done things like this for charity - Andy and Sam being a good example.

There are people out there who have definitely earned accolades for their flying.

Any award for TCT (or anybody else), I think should be judged in the perspective of what it was for. If it's for publicising light aviation and inspiring young women in particular to take up flying - there are some valid points there, because she has. But, letting it be assumed that she was flying solo (and there's plenty around saying she had a more experienced pilot on board for a lot of her trips, not just a cameraman) is a tad naughty.


Mike Flynn 2nd May 2016 20:54

It is worth highlighting Abovetheclouds because your achievments are devalued by modern tv 'reality' programmes.

Did you really precede the French record?

'In 1993, the TBM 700 set a Paris-to-Paris around-the-world record of 80 hours.'

EADS SOCATA -- Company History

Above The Clouds 2nd May 2016 21:23

Jay Sata
because your achievments are devalued by modern tv 'reality' programmes.
Well its a good job I don't watch reality programmes :)

Did you really precede the French record?

'In 1993, the TBM 700 set a Paris-to-Paris around-the-world record of 80 hours.'
I guess so, never really paid much attention to it after the event, would have to check the logbook but fairly sure it was 89'

Flying Lawyer 3rd May 2016 07:25

Jay Sata

Without actually saying it FL you agree the spirit of Maurice Kirk
In some respects, I do. In others, I certainly do not.
I would not use Maurice Kirk as an example of adventurous pilots I admire.

I understand they never qualified for ..... a HCAP award as they were just ordinary people in and ordinary aircraft.
As you have demonstrated in both your threads, your 'understanding' of anything to do with the Air Pilots is invariably utter nonsense that you have made up.
That assertion is no exception.

The overwhelming majority of people honoured by the Air Pilots are what you describe as "ordinary" people.
I'd estimate about 99%.
It is their outstanding achievements that make them extraordinary.

Romeo Tango 4th May 2016 07:12

Yes, audacity is correct!

IMHO we have to remember that in the PR world truth is what you can persuade people it is. When flying we don't have the luxury of wishing for things.

All this (and some other stuff!) will come out in the wash in due course. Shouting any more about it here will not help.

Women like TCT can be fun!

4Greens 16th May 2016 09:37

Aviatrix Curtis-Taylor crash
Thie amazing aviatrix crashed in her Boeing Stearman on take off from Winslow airfield Arizona. Fortunately she and her passenger are ok.
She recently recreated Amy Johnsons flight from England to Australia last year.

Shytehawk 16th May 2016 10:11

She certainly did no recreate Amy Johson's flight. She followed the same route, with immensely better navigation aids and she was not flying solo.

NearlyStol 16th May 2016 10:11

Tracy Curtis Taylor

'She recently recreated Amy Johnsons flight from England to Australia last year.'

Not quite !

Blink182 16th May 2016 11:32

2nd accident within 12 months..........Is an Insurance company one of her sponsors ?

Mike Flynn 16th May 2016 15:23

Artemis Investments were the main sponsor.

I guess your investment can go down as quickly as it goes up or even crash:ok:

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