A female aviation-adventurer has flown a 1942 biplane from the United Kingdom to Australia to help inspire the next generation of pilots.
Tracey Curtis-Taylor landed her Boeing Stearman, the Spirit of Artemis, in Sydney on Saturday after flying nearly 21,000 kilometres through 23 countries.
Aircraft manufacturer Boeing sponsored the endeavour as part of its centennial celebrations, with the route modelled on Amy Johnson’s 1930 flight from Britain to Australia—lauded as one of the greatest solo flight achievements in history.
‘(I’ve) always been inspired by the achievements of pioneers like Amy Johnson,’ said Curtis-Taylor upon landing in Sydney. ‘This expedition from the UK to Australia was the realisation of a burning desire to fly my beloved Boeing Stearman Spirit of Artemis around the world, following in their footsteps whilst hoping to inspire the next generation to follow their dreams.’
A Boeing spokesperson said that the flight is ‘a wonderful reminder of how far aviation has advanced and the role women have played since those early days of flight.’
With a growing demand for pilots the world over and a shortage of pilots forecasted, manufacturers and airlines alike are making conscious efforts to attract more women aviators into their ranks, a demographic of society currently under-represented.
According to the 2015 Boeing Pilot and Technician Outlook an estimated 558,000 new commercial airline pilots and 609,000 new maintenance technicians will be needed to fly and maintain the world fleet over the next 20 years, with Asia-Pacific region seeing the largest growth in demand—requiring 226,000 new pilots.
Current estimations of female pilots worldwide are estimated at five per cent, with Australian figures varying of 4.5 per cent to 9.3 per cent.
You can read more about the growing demand and the role of women in aviation in the Flight Safety Australia article Women’s work.