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Saturday 10 December 2016

'Bird in a biplane' stripped of award over co-pilot claim

Curtis-Taylor met with the LAA. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Curtis-Taylor met with the LAA. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

A self-styled "bird in a biplane" who became the poster girl for female flyers has been stripped of an award amid claims she used a co-pilot on a solo mission.

The Light Aircraft Association (LAA) has rescinded a trophy given to Tracey Curtis-Taylor in 2015 for flying from Cape Town to Britain.

Ms Curtis-Taylor (54) has made a career of flying vintage planes around the world but was unceremoniously stripped of the Bill Woodhams Trophy during an LAA meeting at Sywell Aerodrome in Northamptonshire at the weekend.

Members of the group claimed she had misled the public and voted for her to be stripped of the trophy by a majority of nearly two to one.

It is thought to be the first time such an award has been withdrawn.

Ms Curtis-Taylor, who attended the meeting in an attempt to head off the motion, has been mired in controversy after flight instructor Ewald Gritsch came forward to say he had occupied the forward cockpit of her vintage biplane for most of the legs of her "solo" journeys.

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