England

Biplane adventurer Tracey Curtis-Taylor stripped of award

Tracey Curtis-Taylor Image copyright EPA
Image caption Tracey Curtis-Taylor was on a bid to circumnavigate the world

A British adventurer has been stripped of an award over claims she lied about flying solo on an 8,000-mile trip.

Tracey Curtis-Taylor, 54, flew from Cape Town to Goodwood in Sussex in 2013 in an open cockpit Boeing Stearman.

She said she had intended to make the journey in the biplane flying solo, but denied she had made "false assertions".

Ms Curtis-Taylor said: "A combination of elements resulted in fundamental changes being made to the nature of that expedition."

The Light Aircraft Association (LAA) has stripped Ms Curtis-Taylor of the Bill Woodhams trophy awarded for navigation.

A spokesman for the association said a motion to "rescind an award of the Bill Woodhams Trophy, made in 2014" had been carried at the association's annual general meeting on Saturday.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption She flew across 23 countries during a UK to Australia trip

Ms Curtis-Taylor said: "I began with the intention of trying to fly the Africa flight solo but a combination of elements resulted in fundamental changes being made to the nature of that expedition.

"I have never made false assertions about the nature of my flights."

She said several people had flown with her on multiple legs between Cape Town and the UK, including her engineer Ewald Gritsch.

Image copyright Tracey Curtis-Taylor/PA
Image caption Tracey Curtis-Taylor with her 1942 Boeing Stearman biplane after it crashed in Arizona

Mr Gritsch said his role was the "reassembly of the airplane in Cape Town and the technical support during the expedition".

He said: "I had to take over the flight planning across Africa at short notice, which was done together with the professional African pilots in our team and two major aviation companies."

Sam Rutherford, who was the logistics manager on the flight, was in a plane flying behind Ms Curtis-Taylor's biplane.

He said: "It's a great shame personally for Tracey, but the right decision for the LAA.

"You are meant to be the only human being in an aircraft."

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