A British aviator who completed a 21,000km solo flight in a vintage open-cockpit biplane says her next stop is New Zealand.

Tracey Curtis-Taylor, 52, landed in Sydney yesterday after her epic world trip.

She flew across 23 countries and made 50 refuel stops after setting off from Farnborough in Hampshire, South of England in October.

"I need a drink. And I need a hairdresser," Ms Curtis-Taylor told The Guardian as she climbed out of her 1942 Boeing Stearman, Spirit of Artemis at Sydney airport.

Advertisement

The Guardian reported that Ms Curtis-Taylor's goal was to emulate the pioneering British aviator Amy Johnson, who became the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia in 1930.

She travelled across Europe and the Mediterranean to Jordan, over the Arabian desert, across the Gulf of Oman to Pakistan, India and across Asia before landing in Australia.

She said treacherous weather and navigating international airways were the most challenging parts of the journey.

"Flying in heavy rain, low cloud on the deck . that was a death trap that killed a lot of the airline pilots. So I turned around and went back," she said of one leg near Bucharest.

Before she embarked on her trip she explained why it had been a long time goal.

"For my whole life, I have been moved by the achievements of pioneers like Amy Johnson.

My own flight to Australia is the realisation of a burning desire to fly my beloved Boeing Stearman around the world following in their footsteps," she said.

Ms Curtis-Taylor flew the entire route with an open cockpit, flying basic period instruments over short periods.

It is not her first foray into recreating historical flights. In 2013 she flew 13,000km solo from Cape Town to the UK recreating the 1928 flight of Lady Mary Heath.

The Londoner said highlights of her journey included flying over the Arabian desert, the mountains of Burma and the coastline of Thailand.

"It blew me away, I feel I have been privileged to have experienced this but I haven't had the time to process it yet. I would like to sit down with a large drink and rest and reflect on what I have gone through. It's been an astonishing experience - heaven and hell."

Yesterday she told reporters at Sydney airport: "What I would really like to do is get back in the airplane and fly up the east coast of Australia. I wish I could keep going, I never want to land as the experience is so profound, it's addictive.

"I am still in expedition mode, but I need to relax and decompress."

Ms Curtis-Taylor will head for New Zealand next, to celebrate her mother's 80th birthday.

She then planned to travel to Seattle for a coast-to-coast expedition across the US.

"Why not keep going? Life should be about big projects," she said.