Above left:With Dr Clare Owen (headmistress), Roseanne Spencer (the teacher at the school who organised the National Women’s Day
event) and Jane Priston from the Amy Johnson Memorial Association at Herne Bay Above right: with other staff members at the school

I spent the day teamed up with my great friend Jane Priston talking to nearly three hundred school girls to mark National Women's Day on March 8. It was frankly a more terrifying prospect than any public speaking engagement I have done to date. I was telling them about my own flying experience and Jane was recounting the inspiring story of Amy Johnson, who was tragically killed just off Herne Bay nearly 75 years ago. But what a tremendous response from the girls! They ranged from ten to sixteen years, were very bright and engaging and bombarded us with questions. I think there will be some star performers there in future.

Tracey with Eric ‘Winkle' Brown

Hugely enjoyed a visit to Brooklands Museum to hear Eric Winkle Brown's talk on Sunday the 15th, which was sold out. He is an extraordinary man who has had a brilliant flying career and at 94 is still going strong!

 It was one of the most remarkable meetings of my life. He is exceptional in every way and very charming and humorous. Apart from his outstanding flying history as a test pilot, he was witness to some of the greatest technological achievements and the worst human atrocities of the 20th Century. I was pole-axed by his stories of visiting the Belsen concentration camp, meeting such people as Goering and Hanna Reitsch, and flying the early British and German jets. He is a hero and I feel very privileged to have met him.

Thoroughly bored with the winter and all the water-logged ground. Very keen to get the Stearman and the Ryan running again, so engineering planned for the middle of the month and hopefully some flying. I really do need a proper Sidcote flying suit for these winter operations.

With Price Michael of Kent and the Lynx helicopter crew, preparing for the flight to the Museum of Army Flying in Hampshire

I had a brilliant visit with Prince Michael of Kent to the Museum of Army Flying, Middle Wallop, Hampshire on January 28th.We flew in a Lynx helicopter from Battersea Heliport on a freezing blustery day,  and were given a tour of the museum and told about their very exciting development  plans. Had a great lunch with the museum team and their VIP guests, and also caught up with a few old friends who were there to support the occasion. I intend to take the Stearman back to Middle Wallop in the spring. It is
a fantastic place, I can't recommend a visit highly enough.

A running start to the new year planning the next expedition, details to be announced shortly.

2014 excerpts

A wonderful visit to Brooklands on August 3rd,my first ever - like stepping into 'Those Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines!'

Astonishing to see the Stratosphere Chamber created by Barnes Wallis (and his flying bombs) and icons like the Vickers Vimy, a Sopwith Camel and Concorde. And a lot of beautiful old pre-WW1 cars on parade ahead of their rally into London today to commemorate the Centenary of the Great War.

Flew over the Cowes Regatta for the Artemis Challenge on Thursday August 7, then headed to France the following week to join a commemorative Royal Flying Corps tribute flight over Amiens and Arras.

A fantastically busy month where I attended back-to-back air shows with the Spirit of Artemis; the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, the Farnborough International Air Show and the Royal Navy Air Day at Yeovilton. Highlights included finding myself parked up close to the Red Arrows at Fairford and right next to the Boeing Dreamliner at Farnborough. One could get used to this exalted company!

An extraordinary vignette in the midst of all the aeroplanes and flying was the Wind Tunnel Project at Farnborough organised by Tatiana Ojjeh. A combination of old Jules Verne-esque technology with modern sound and light effects; it was hauntingly beautiful and strangely futuristic, a sort of inner and outer space experience.

I also had the great delight of flying a short display at Glorious Goodwood last week for the Artemis Challenge Cup on Ladies Day. I swept past the grandstand a couple of times, a blaze of green turf and big hats below, before landing at the airfield for a quick change and joining the Artemis crowd for lunch back at the race course. Horses unfrightened and a wonderful afternoon of racing in more hot sunshine. Perfect end to July.

I flew the Stearman back to 3G Classic Aviation in Hungary for it's annual inspection and some serious engineering after the rigours of the Africa expedition. Got it back to Goodwood just in time for a fund raiser at Blackbushe for Aerobility (flying for the disabled) and another talk at the Real Flying Company at Shoreham that night.

Wrapped up June with the Festival of Speed at Goodwood where I flew the Stearman into the old 1920's flying paddock. It was then towed several hundred yards through the golf course past the bunkers and into position for the static aviation display on the estate by the race track. Huge fun!


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