Experienced aviator Tracey Curtis-Taylor has departed Farnborough Airport in her classic 1942 Boeing Stearman Spirit of Artemis heading for Sydney, Australia in support of The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.

The intrepid British aviator’s expedition will include 50 legs as she crosses 23 countries on her trip across the globe. Her first day flying saw her stop in Le Touquet, France (120 nautical miles), before continuing on to Charleville in the Ardennes (a further 124nm).

Tracey is undertaking the flight to celebrate the pioneering days of early aviation in the 1920s and 1930s, and especially the achievements of revolutionary British aviator Amy Johnson. A celebrity of her day, Ms Johnson became the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia in 1930 and tragically died in mysterious circumstances during World War II whilst flying for the ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary).

Friendly send-off

A group of over 150 friends and supports gathered to bid Tracey farewell, including HRH Prince Michael of Kent, Dame Diana Rigg, Amy Johnson’s niece Judy Chilvers and Rear Admiral Ben Key RN. She was also joined by a number of her partners, including personnel from Global Sponsors Boeing and Artemis Investment Management, as well as representatives from ExecuJet, GIC Re, the GREAT Campaign, Singapore Airlines, the Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces, Pol Roger, Inmarsat, LiveWire and Cobham SatCom. Tracey will be flying to support the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity on her flight to Australia.

Lauren Wileman, Head of Community Fundraising at The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, said: “We’re thrilled that Tracey is choosing to support us as part of her expedition. It is one of the most ambitious adventures that we’ve been a part of, and certainly one of the most global, which is fitting considering the work of the Royal Navy and its Fleet Air Arm around the word.

“Just like the Naval Service personnel we support, her determination and tenacity are unwavering. We look forward to following news of her journey and wish her the very best”.

During the flight, Tracey Curtis-Taylor will be stopping in a number of cities to engage with the local communities, with a particular focus on women’s issues. The first major stop will be Istanbul.

The historic city not only marks the moment Tracey will leave Europe, but Tracey will be learning more about the life of Sabiha Gocken, who was the first Turkish female combat pilot aged just 23. She was one of the eight adopted children of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founding father of the Turkish state.

Tracey is expected to arrive in Sydney on 6 January.