SEP 13th 2013


Goodwood has a rich aviation history and the 2013 Revival honoured a remarkable flight. In 1928, Mary Heath – the first woman to hold a commercial flying licence in the UK, made front page news the world over as the first pilot, male or female, to fly a small, open-cockpit biplane solo from Cape Town to London. In November 2013, to commemorate Lady Heath’s flight, pilot Tracey Curtis-Taylor embarked on a journey of her own to fly an open-cockpit Boeing Stearman biplane from Cape Town to Goodwood.

Flying in an open cockpit, exposed to the elements, is not for the faint-hearted, and the flight represents a formidable physical and logistical challenge – in a plane designed in the 1930s, with a top speed of 95mph, an operating ceiling of 10,000 feet and a range of only 450 miles. But this sort of extreme flying is what Curtis-Taylor, the first female pilot based at the historic Shuttleworth collection of vintage aircraft, has been doing all her life. She is seen here alongside honoured guest, Zara Phillips.

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