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  1. ITV Report

British pilot Tracey Curtis Taylor days away from completing 13,000 mile solo flight

British adventurer Tracey Curtis-Taylor is only days away from completing an epic voyage from the UK to Australia in a vintage biplane.

ITV News presenter Mark Austin reports:

She is attempting to recreate legendary pilot Amy Johnson's pioneering 13,000 mile solo flight across the globe from England and is expected to land in Sydney over the weekend, after making landfall Down Under on earlier this week.

Speaking to ITV News, Curtis-Taylor said that she is flying twice as far each leg across Australia to make up time lost due to bad weather but she is "relieved beyond words" to finally be Down Under.

Flying for up to eight hours a day on her final leg, she said she was having to stop to regularly refuel - relying on help from aboriginal villages.

  • Prior to her trip, ITV News presenter Mark Austin was taken for a flight in the plane.You can watch his report here.

Curtis-Taylor, who successfully flew from Cape Town to Goodwood in 2013, said she "takes her hat off" to Johnson, who made the journey in 19 days - flying up to 10 hours a day, surviving several crashes and fixing the plane afterwards.

Her own journey has taken just over three months, having taken off from the UK on October 1.

"Just the psychological impact of what she was doing - I haven't got close to reproducing that, so I've had a much more leisurely run, dealing with meeting a lot community people along the way... so mine has been a much more pleasant journey," she said.

"I absolutely take my hat off to her at what she achieved. Just the physical and psychological dimension of doing this is just beyond description really."

She has made more than 50 refuelling stops along the way - travelling through Vienna, Istanbul, Riyadh, Dubai, Yangon, Kuala Lumpur, and Bali before the final strech in Australia.

Her plan is fly along the famous coastline from Richmond Royal Australian Air Force base, past the Sydney Opera House and the bridge before making her final landing at Sydney International Airport.

"Then there'll be a big party - I'm going to need a very large drink at the end of this, I can tell you," she added.

But she won't be resting for long, she said - she will be heading to New Zealand to visit family before returning to London, before shipping the plane off to Seattle in preparation for another solo flight across America next year.

Curtis-Taylor said Johnson had been a "real inspiration" to her, and she admired her "reckless bravery" in making the journey which astounded the world.

She herself had a small support crew following her flight - which Johnson did not - which recorded her adventure for a documentary series retelling the story of early aviation.

She told ITV News that she hopes Johnson's story will continue to provide inspiration for generations to come - and especially for women.