|Raised in Canada
and surrounded by magnificent
scenery, Tracey naturally took to adventure, so it was
no surprise to her parents when she developed a
passion for flight, having her first flying lesson aged 16.
She returned to England with her family in the 70’s and her early working career in London
including training with de Beers as a diamond valuer and the Diplomatic Service at the
Foreign Office in Whitehall.
But the ‘call of the wild’ and an ongoing fascination with Africa made Tracey cut the rope on
her conventional life in England. She went to South Africa in 1982 where she worked for
several months before returning to the UK overland in a Bedford truck - a journey that took
five months camping through savannah, jungle and desert.
Shortly after her return Tracey migrated to New Zealand and began flying in earnest. She
gained her private pilot’s licence, commercial licence and an instructor rating and, unusual
for a woman, was trained by military pilots to fly World War II aeroplanes with the New
Zealand Warbird Association.
In tandem with her love of flying, an interest in geology, landscape and imagery led to Tracey
pursuing another career in aerial photography and mapping, which was to hold her in good
stead for her future flying pursuits.
Always adventurous, she is also passionate about other forms of early pioneering transport
and in particular, old cars. As a result, she took part in the 2007 centenary Peking to Paris
classic car rally that re-traced the route first driven by Prince Borghese in 1907. This involved
driving for six weeks through northern China, the Gobi Desert, across Russia to the Baltic and
on to Paris – an epic experience that combined great adventure with rugged endurance.
Tracey’s aeroplanes - a Boeing Stearman and a Ryan Recruit - are now based at Goodwood in
West Sussex. When not flying, her other interests include gemmology and geography (she is
a Fellow of the British Gemmological Association and the Royal Geographical Society). She is
also a keen oil painter.
Above: Tracey prepares for take off in her Ryan Recruit (left). Tracey and the Boeing Stearman (right).