In 2013 Tracey flew nearly ten thousand miles from Cape Town to Goodwood in her Boeing Stearman, the Spirit of Artemis. The flight was inspired by Lady Heath who was the first pilot, male or female, to fly a light aircraft solo from Cape Town to London in 1928.

Largely forgotten today, Mary Heath started life as plain Sophie Pierce from rural Ireland. During a five year period in the mid 1920's she went on to become one of the most famous people in the world, breaking records as one of the first female Olympic athletes, the first woman to do a parachute jump in public and the first female to hold a commercial pilots license and an engineer's license in the UK. Lady Heath's flight up Africa was her finest achievement. Within a year of this, she suffered a terrible crash in America, went through a very public divorce from Sir James Heath, and died in obscurity a few years later. Her story is brilliantly told in Lindy Noughton's book Lady Icarus.

Tracey's expedition up the east side of Africa took two months to complete with 38 stops. She was supported by a second aircraft, a Cessna Caravan provided and piloted by Phoenix Aviation of Nairobi, and additional personnel including engineer, Ewald Gritsch, a four-man film team from Nylon Films and a logistics person.

The crew experienced serious problems in the Sudan where they had to divert away from fighting in the south and were then grounded by the authorities in the north due to issues with documentation. A severe storm over the eastern Mediterranean and a mechanical breakdown on the Egyptian coast added further difficulties.

Notwithstanding, flying Africa in the Spirit of Artemis was the culmination of a twenty five year dream for Tracey and she considers this one of the finest experiences of her life.

BBC4 TV Documentary
Nylon Films produced a documentary feature film entitled The Aviatrix of Tracey's Africa flight and the Lady Heath story and this was screened several times during 2015.

A DVD of this film is available from www.theaviatrix.co.uk

Please click here to view the Cape Town to Goodwood gallery.
 
     
 



The Aviatrix documentary DVD
 

 
 

With Zara Phillips at the 2013
Goodwood Revival
 

Lady Heath at Croydon after completing
her Africa flight
 
     
 

The Spirit of Artemis being upacked in Cape Town
 

The Lycoming nine cylinder radial on the Stearman
 
 
 

Flying along the Wilderness Coast in South Africa
 
     
  Be the first to know Register here to receive Tracey's regular newsletter